Movie Review: Water for Elephants

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Via: Source IMDB

Starring Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon, playing the characters of Jacob Jankowski and Marlena.

This movie was produced in 2011, so at this rate anybody who wanted to watch it would’ve by now (unless you’re me and had to read the book first); I won’t hold back on my very unhappy opinions of this movie versus book. Please feel free to commiserate with me in the comments below.

First off, I’d like to discuss this movie as a whole.

Why did Hollywood decide that the romance between Jacob and Marlena should be the prime focus? Because of that, I feel like whom ever wrote the script and the scenes, etc. never read the book. Somebody gave them a synopsis and that’s all they had to work with. The movie lacked so much because there were so many scenes cut or re-positioned for their own amusement. Also, personally, I felt the Marlena character in the book was much younger, not to say that Reese Witherspoon couldn’t play a younger character, but, if I remember correctly, Marlena had even mentioned that August was 10+ years older than her. In the movie they were more like 5.

Yes, the way August beat Rosie was very much the way I could’ve imagined it.

No, Marlena didn’t run away with Jacob, because Jacob never ran away from the circus.

Camel and Kinko were not red lighted because Jacob ran away; Jacob was on the verge of committing murder. And Marlena was not in the bed when that choice was being made.

Those are just pieces.

The movie annoyed me. The characters were good. Well acted, but —Where the heck was “Uncle Al”???? <– yes, this is necessary

Seriously, the movie wound up combining Uncle Al and August into one character. August was the ring-leader, in the movie, but not the book. Uncle Al handled the money, not August. “Red lighting” people was Al’s decision.

Oh, and on the note of poor character exchange from book to movie. Personally, when I envisioned the character “Blackie”, I imagined a man of color, yes I pictured a black man. It’s the 30s! The Great Depression! At the time African Americans were fighting against the injustice of white supremacy, people were scared of others who didn’t look like them. This is why I pictured a man with a nickname like “Blackie”, he would be a scary, scarred man, who you couldn’t see coming through the gas-lit train cars as he was following orders to toss the next group of men off a moving train.

The opening scene of the movie just fast forward through too much of the book. The whole title is based on ridiculing another resident who is deluded in his old age to have carried water to the elephants! But no, we have old man Jankowski standing in the middle of the rain in front of 3 or 4 truck-trailers waiting for him to move. And in the book Mr. Jankowski clearly states that when he made his clean break from the Nursing Home the sun had blinded him upon stepping outside. It was the afternoon sun, not rain!

For people who haven’t read the book, they may think “Oh the movie was so classical and romantic”, but all I can say is it was bad. Bad. Bad.

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About Black ' n Write Reviewer

I'm a junior high librarian finding her way into the lives of her students through the art of literature.
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