I was certain that I wanted to read the book before watching the movie, so it took me a while to get the chance to do so. Finally I did both and I must say, I’m very happy that I read the book before the movie cause I wouldn’t have read the book after watching the movie – and I loved the book!
Water for Elephants is a movie starring Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson as Marlena and Jacob who fall in love (obviously). Then there’s the villain who manages the circus where Marlena and Jacob work, August portrayed by Christoph Waltz who is amazing. What was quite disappointing was that in the book the circus had two big names – August and the owner, in the movie August was both and it felt a bit weird. Although the screenwriter Richard LaGravenese has much experience (he also wrote PS I Love You onto the screen) reading the book just before seeing the movie showed off the weaknesses. A part of the book that I really enjoyed was Jacob’s mundane days as an old man: the movie had none of that. I guess they tried to make the movie all about the love story while the book has much more depth to it – the reason why I’m not surprised that this movie has mixed reviews. It is interesting that it still maintains a 7.0 on IMDb – although the movie has Robert Pattinson in the lead, we can’t trust the score (he won a Teen Choice Award for this – get it? Teens!).On that note I have to add that I never had issues with Pattinson’s acting skills – it’s just his role as the Sparkles that doesn’t suit me.
Keeping in mind the screenplay and the differences from the book, the acting still managed to save most of the movie. I mean, it was a great cast and I am a sucker for animals in movies – the elephant was adorable and the chimp as well. But just because it turned out to be another romance movie with some drama in it I can’t say it’s my favorite. It could’ve been similar to The Notebook moment, it had that vibe in the book, but instead it was toned down and distanced from the present while putting more emphasis on the Jacob and Marlene story. If you haven’t read the book, you might like it more but I’m giving it a 3,5 out of 5 because various elements of the movie/book made it still enjoyable to watch.
PS: In my case, the book cover was this lovely version of the movie poster so I ended up liking this one a lot, it has all the main elements of the story and it looks elegant.