Friday, March 8, 2013

Water for Elephants

Throwing it back all the way to early 2011 for today's movie. Based on a novel by the same name (which I learned via Wikipedia was originally written for National Novel Writing Month?!), this movie has all the thrills of the big screen: topless ladies, lust, betrayal, speakeasies, trains, and elephants. One elephant, actually. It won the People's Choice Award for Favorite Drama Movie last year and received moderate reviews.

Water for Elephants

What does a circus need? A star act. After Jacob Jankowski first hitches a ride (and a free meal) from a circus train, then kills the star of the show (a white horse suffering from laminitis-Jacob actually does the horse a favor), he somehow still manages to find a spot as the vet and bull man (elephant handler) for the Benzini Brothers Circus. Rosie, the newly acquired elephant, is stubborn but takes a liking to Jacob. At the same time, Jacob takes a liking for Marlena, who performs with Rosie. Marlena is pretty sweet on Jacob as well, but still professes her love for August, her husband and the boss/ringleader of the circus. August, it turns out, has a small drinking problem and is horrendously stressed out about the loss of ticket sales and general demise of the circus (though this stress doesn't make him pause to consider the logic of throwing outlandish parties any time he feels they are about to experience an upswing in ticket sales). He also has no respect for Rosie.

So, what we have is a volatile creature, a drunk showman, and illegitimate love, all set in the midst of the Great Depression and Prohibition. I won't give the ending away, but a small thing goes wrong, then more wrongdoings occur, then a really big thing goes wrong, then suddenly some right things happen, but they are still colored by all the atrocities of the original wrongs. If you've read the book, I say check out the movie just to have a visual for the story. If not, I say watch if you have a thing for elephants, circuses, or strange love affairs.

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