Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants

Francis Lawrence (2011)

12A Certificate


Our Score
Adapted from Sara Gruen's bestseller, this circus-set romantic melodrama in the mould of The Greatest Show on Earth and Trapeze - but with digital effects - is pitched at a tween audience with its sly casting of Robert Pattinson. (You can imagine the pitch: "The kid from Twilight - on an elephant!") Told in flashback, it finds Pattinson's orphaned veterinary student jumping a Depression-era train and landing a job with the Benzini Brothers Circus. Here, he falls in love with Reese Witherspoon's handsome horsewoman, wife of Christoph Waltz's cruel and possessive circus owner, and torrid events ensue. This stodgy, spark-free, matinée-style affair fails to distract from the uncomfortable sight of Tai, a performing elephant, "playing" the film's ill-treated star attraction Rosie. Hunger Games: Catching Fire director Francis Lawrence assembles the material well enough on a modest budget, but Waltz and Witherspoon's talents are wasted in what is a wishy-washy attempt at old-school Hollywood entertainment.


A veterinary student is left homeless and penniless after his parents' deaths during the Depression. He joins a travelling circus, applying his skills to caring for the animals, and falls in love with the possessive owner's wife as they tend an elephant together. Romantic drama based on Sara Gruen's novel, with Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson and Christoph Waltz.

Cast & Crew

Marlena Reese Witherspoon
Jacob Robert Pattinson
August Christoph Waltz
Charlie Paul Schneider (2)
Camel Jim Norton
Old Jacob Hal Holbrook
Kinko / Walter Mark Povinelli
Rosie's caretaker James Frain
Diamond Joe Tim Guinee
Earl Ken Foree
Director Francis Lawrence
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: 20th Century FoxGuidance: Violence, swearing, nudity.Available on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 29 Apr 2011