Water for Elephants (12A)
Time Out rating:
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Time Out says
Tue May 3 2011Some promo shots for this likeable, Depression-era melodrama show Robert ‘R-Patz’ Pattinson getting cosy in the hay with Dumbo. But don’t fret: their love stays as unconsummated as that of Bella and Edward in ‘Twilight’. This adaptation of a Sara Gruen novel plays as one long flashback: we dissolve to 1931 as nonagenarian Jacob (Hal Holbrook) tells of his early life: he jumped a circus train after the death of his Polish parents and the end of his Ivy League veterinary career.
Told at a leisurely pace and with attractive period detail, the film explores a four-way tussle between young Jacob (Pattinson), circus boss August (Christoph Waltz, again hiding a dagger behind a grin), his showgirl wife Marlena (Reese Witherspoon) and elephant Rosie (Tai, the biggest ham of the lot).
It’s overlong yet, paradoxically, the final stages feel rushed. But ‘Water for Elephants’ has charm, and this more grown up role suits Pattinson more than the histrionics of last year’s ‘Remember Me’. The film offers a life lesson for pet owners, too: next time your animal plays up, try talking to it in Polish.
Author: Dave Calhoun