Book to Movie Review: Water for Elephants

I loved Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants so when I found out that there would be a movie coming out I was really, really exited.  When I heard Robert Pattinson was playing the role of Jacob, I was simultaneously excited and disappointed.  Pattinson will always be Edward Cullen for me.  Just like Daniel Radcliffe will always be Harry Potter, I'll never be able to objectively view Pattinson in any other role.  I watched Remember Me, and all I could think about the whole movie was that Tyler was how I pictured Edward when he was the vigilante vampire, killing murders and rapists after he was first turned.  Even though Tyler was actually a quite sensitive guy, he was rough around the edges, like I pictured the avenging Edward to be.  

But I digress---back to Water for Elephants.  I think Pattinson is improving as an actor, and he was very believable as Jacob Jankowski.  He and Reese Witherspoon had good chemistry and I enjoyed watching their relationship develop.  The supporting roles were flawlessly played, especially Camel, Walter and Queenie.  

My favorite thing about the movie was that it closely followed the book (or at least the book as I remember it).  There were no obvious digressions from the book's plot, something that  made me very happy.  

The stunts and choreography were excellent.  I don't remember ever going to a circus as a kid, but I when I left the theater, I felt like I'd been to the circus.  One word of warning: if you haven't read the book and you're planning on seeing the movie, it is kind of sad.  The way the circus animals are mistreated really got to me.  I think it was worse for me reading the book, but that may have just been because I was prepared for it upon entering the theater. 

Overall, Water for Elephants was a great movie and an even better book.  As always, I would recommend reading the book first.


  1. I bought the book at walmart the other day! I am hoping to read it before I see the movie!

  2. I thought the movie was good but a little too watered down. The grit form the book wasn't all there. Uncle Al wasn't in it, Kinko/Walter and the other supporting characters who were so strong in the book were minimized, and August was much tamer in the movie. It wasn't bad, I just had higher hopes :)

  3. Thank you so much for this review! It helped balance out another review that I read of the movie.

  4. Very nice review, Kelli! Usually, I read the book before seeing the movie--but not always. In fact, chances are I will see this movie first, because I have too many books waiting to be read. It's good to know that the acting is up to snuff. :)

  5. Great review. I read the book over a year ago and we excited about the movie - especially since it's been long enough since I read the book that I figured I wouldn't be too upset about plot changes. Glad to hear it keeps pretty true to the book. And I agree - hard to watch Robert Pattinson and anything except Edward. Poor guy.

  6. I can't wait to watch the movie and read the book! I am so behind on the times.


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