Water for Elephants (2011) - Rotten Tomatoes

Water for Elephants2011

Water for Elephants (2011)



Critic Consensus: It's a tale tastefully told and beautifully filmed, but Water for Elephants suffers from a pronounced lack of chemistry between its leads.

Water for Elephants Photos

Movie Info

Based on the acclaimed bestseller, Water for Elephants presents an unexpected romance in a uniquely compelling setting. Veterinary school student Jacob meets and falls in love with Marlena, a star performer in a circus of a bygone era. They discover beauty amidst the world of the Big Top, and come together through their compassion for a special elephant. Against all odds -- including the wrath of Marlena's charismatic but dangerous husband, August -- Jacob and Marlena find lifelong love. (c) Fox

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Hal Holbrook
as Old Jacob
Mark Povinelli
as Kinko/Walter
James Frain
as Rosie's Caretaker
Sam Anderson
as Mr. Hyde
John Aylward
as Mr. Erwin
Brad Greenquist
as Mr. Robinson
Tim Guinee
as Diamond Joe
Donna Wilson
as Barbara
E.E. Bell
as Cecil the Barker
Aleksandra Kaniak
as Mrs. Jankowski
Ilia Volok
as Mr. Jankowski
Bruce Gray
as Proctor
Jim Jansen
as Dean Wilkins
James Keane
as Chaplain
Ivo Nandi
as Grocer
Karynn Moore
as Catherine Hale
Andrew Connolly
as Weehawken Officer
Doug McDougal
as Big Top Band Leader
Tracy Phillips
as Coochie Girl (Nell)
Rowan O'Hara
as Stampede Girl
as Rosie
as Queenie
as Silver Star
as Rex
Sita Acevedo
as Circus Performer
Danny Castle
as Circus Performer
Michael Coronas
as Circus Performer
Aloysia Gavré
as Circus Performer
Chobi Gyorgy
as Circus Performer
David Hunt
as Circus Performer
George Landkas-Coronas
as Circus Performer
Kerren McKeeman
as Circus Performer
Rebecca Ostroff
as Circus Performer
Bianca Sapetto
as Circus Performer
Katia Sereno
as Circus Performer
Vladimir Sizov
as Circus Performer
Russell Stark
as Circus Performer
Sebastien Stella
as Circus Performer
Lee-Anne Telford
as Circus Performer
Dreya Weber
as Circus Performer
Tara Ferguson
as Showgirl
Molly O'Neill
as Showgirl
Aryiel Hartman
as Coochie Girl
Michelle Lavon
as Coochie Girl
Mark Barnett
as Sideshow
Rob Crites
as Sideshow
Mary Newman
as Sideshow
Brad Potts
as Sideshow
Jackie Zane
as Sideshow
Jon Weiss
as Clown
Wyatt Biessel
as Big Top Band
Chris Blim
as Big Top Band
Duff Dugan
as Big Top Band
Marcus Everett
as Big Top Band
Joe Langer
as Big Top Band
Glen McDougal
as Big Top Band
Stefan Rollins
as Big Top Band
William Scott Morse
as Big Top Band
Evan Silverman
as Big Top Band
Beresford Bennett
as Sideshow Band
Johnny Britt
as Sideshow Band
Garnett Brown
as Sideshow Band
George Harper
as Sideshow Band
Bobby Haynes
as Sideshow Band
Todd Cochran
as Speakeasy Jazz Band
Mike Davis
as Speakeasy Jazz Band
Keith Friddmont
as Speakeasy Jazz band
Wynton McCurty
as Speakeasy Jazz Band
Deryl Patterson
as Speakeasy Jazz Band
Kabin Thomas
as Speakeasy Jazz Band
Karl Vincent
as Speakeasy Jazz Band
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News & Interviews for Water for Elephants

Critic Reviews for Water for Elephants

All Critics (196) | Top Critics (48)

Supporting characters are too hastily sketched in, serving only to further the unsmooth course of true love.

October 7, 2011 | Full Review…
Top Critic

There's no doubting the luscious detail and feel for the period, but the love triangle that inevitable kicks in is a little too rote, even for those in a forgiving mood.

June 16, 2011 | Rating: 2.5/5 | Full Review…

This colourful romantic melodrama gives the brooding Robert Pattinson a break from his customary vampire roles...

May 8, 2011 | Full Review…

Water for Elephants may not be the best show on earth, but it's still quite a show.

May 6, 2011 | Rating: B | Full Review…

Without Waltz, this might qualify as perhaps the dullest circus movie ever made, dragged down by a sappy script and a soppy romance.

May 6, 2011 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Director Francis Lawrence knows what he is doing and doesn't get too ambitious with this old-fashioned piece of storytelling.

May 6, 2011 | Rating: 3/5

Audience Reviews for Water for Elephants

I see Jacob's (Robert Pattinson) tale is one of tragedy, deceit, illusion, abuse (animal, spousal and workplace), drunkenness, murder and secret love. Incidents of nastiness and brutality vie with attempts to evoke the magic of the circus, but these have a desperate and unconvincing mood. While young boys of a bygone age may have dreamed or orgies with hoochie-coochie dancers and drunken dwarfs, such outbursts of colourful fun are curiously joyless - neither Federico Fellini's surreal nor C.B. DeMille's exuberant vision of Circus. Equally, the romance between young Jacob and showgirl Marlena feels forced. Thank heavens, then, that the climactic catastrophe is appropriately dreadful. Reese Witherspoon, it is said, loved the book. One suspects it was the costumes she loved best, the pink sequins, marabou feathers and bias-cut frocks nicely set off by the Jean Harlow hair. For a dying circus whose unpaid roustabouts and moth-eaten animals are starving, she's almost too glamorous, holding court with a champagne glass in a handsomely appointed railway carriage boudoir. Pattinson is, in his quiet, the sympathetic central character because his ardent, young Jacob is the one commencing a big life journey. Most memorable, though, is Christoph Waltz's terrifyingly unpredictable August. Horribly fascinating, he is charming and charismatic one moment, and savagely sadistic the next.

Dean McKenna
Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer


I LOVED the book and I figured that the movie wasn't going to live up to it, and I was right so it wasn't a major letdown. The book was so intense, throughout the entire thing and I could not put it down. I wanted the movie to be just as intense but it really wasn't. I didn't care about what happened to the characters in the movie as much as I cared about the characters in the book.

Megan S
Megan S

Super Reviewer


very entertaining, and actually well executed for what it was. the story itself was just an old story in new clothes, so it failed to be overly compelling, but it was a solid date movie.

danny d
danny d

Super Reviewer

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