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Water for Elephants is a American romantic drama film directed by Francis Lawrence. Richard LaGravenese wrote the screenplay, which was based on Sara Gruen 's novel of the same name. It received mixed to positive reviews from film critics; it garnered a "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes based upon aggregated reviews,  and a rating of "mixed or average reviews" at Metacritic.
Charlie O'Brien, Circus Vargas' owner, encounters an elderly man named Jacob Jankowski, who is separated from his nursing home group. The two strike up a conversation and Jacob reveals he had a career in the circus business and was present during one of the most infamous circus disasters of all time, equal in seriousness to the Hartford circus fire and the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus wreck.
Jankowski tells his story to O'Brien, starting in when he was a year-old veterinary medicine student at Cornell. During his final exam, he is informed that his parents were killed in a car accident. His father has left huge debts, and the bank was foreclosing on Jacob's home. Feeling there is no point in returning to school, and having no home to go to, he jumps onto a passing train where he meets a kind old man named Camel.
Jacob wakes up the next morning and discovers that he jumped on the Benzini Bros. He sees a beautiful young woman named Marlena Rosenbluth, and meets August, the circus's ringmaster, head animal trainer, and Marlena's husband. Jacob reveals he studied veterinary science and August hires Jacob as a vet for the circus animals after Jacob tells August that Silver a show horse has laminitis.
August instructs Jacob to fix Silver and keep him performing as long as possible. But Jacob cannot bear to see Silver's suffering and takes it upon himself to tell Marlena and shoots Silver.
August is furious with Jacob's decision to euthanize Silver against orders. To show Jacob who is boss, he threatens to throw him off the moving train — telling him that an animal's suffering is nothing compared to a man's, and that Jacob must carry out all of August's future orders if he wishes to keep his job.
August eventually procures Rosie the elephant as Silver's replacement. He invites Jacob to his car for dinner and cocktails with him and Marlena.
Jacob watches the married couple flirt and dance in front of him, but it becomes clear that their relationship is complicated because August is possessive, jealous and rough with Marlena. In the next few weeks, August becomes frustrated when Rosie seems impossible to train.
August is brutal with Rosie, beating her with a bullhook when she fails to follow orders. After a brutal beating that August gave to Rosie when she ran away after fleeing from the event and dropping Marlena, Jacob realizes that the elephant only understands Polish commands. After that, Rosie performs beautifully and the circus enjoys a short period of success. While working together to train Rosie, Jacob and Marlena fall in love. After August discovers this, he cruelly taunts the two.
Marlena discovers that August plans to throw Jacob from the train and they run away together, hiding in a local hotel. Soon after consummating their relationship, they are ambushed by August's henchmen who drag Marlena away and beat up Jacob. Jacob returns to the circus to find Marlena. Marlena tells Jacob that his friends Walter and Camel were thrown from the train and killed.
Several circus employees have become fed up with August's murderous cruelty and unleash their revenge by unlocking all the animals' cages while the big top tent is jam-packed with an audience enjoying Marlena and Rosie's performance.
Jacob attempts to find Marlena in the chaos and August attacks him. When Marlena tries to stop August from beating Jacob, he turns his fury on her and chokes her, while one of August's henchmen beats Jacob. Wade and Grady, two of Jacob's best friends and one of the circus workers save Jacob and he sees Rosie hit August on the back of the head with an iron stake, killing him. As a result, Benzini Bros. Back in the present, Jacob explains to O'Brien in flashbacks that he returned to Cornell and finished his degree.
He and Marlena took several horses and Rosie, and got jobs with the Ringling Bros. Jacob worked as a veterinarian and she continued to perform with Rosie. They married, had children and kept Rosie until her death. He took on a job as a vet at the Albany Zoo and after more children and many happy years together Marlena died. The filming wrapped up on August 4, This is the second time Witherspoon and Pattinson have costarred together as they had filmed a deleted scene from 's Vanity Fair in which he was her estranged son.
Reshoots for the film were scheduled for mid January The stampede scenes were digitally composed. The critical consensus is: Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three stars out of four, stating: Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times gave the film a positive review, stating that "despite the stars' lack of romantic chemistry, there's much to enjoy in this cinematic retelling of Sara Gruen's big top bestseller, starting with the spectacular circus setting.
Richard Corliss of Time magazine stated: In one of them, Marlena whispers to Jacob, 'Bring Rosie to my tent and don't tell anyone' — as if the roustabouts wouldn't notice a ft. Granted, they'd also take a look at his handler, the divoon Robert Pattinson; but Rosie has a pretty strong odor too, and that's what will stick to you after seeing Water for Elephants.
Some critics, however, praised the film's cast. Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle stated that Pattinson succeeded at holding his own at the center of a major feature and that Witherspoon, while an odd fit for the role, was "actress enough to make it work. Water for Elephants was released in theaters on April 22, In the United States and Canada, Water for Elephants was released theatrically in 2, conventional theaters.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Water for Elephants Theatrical release poster. British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved October 18, Retrieved April 26, Tyler Perry's latest 'Madea' film should trample 'Water for Elephants ' ".
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