Last night, I finally went to go see the new movie, Water for Elephants! I say finally like it’s been years, when really this movie has been out less than a week, I was just dying to see it! I had been wanting to read the book for awhile, so I finally broke down and did it back in January when I got my new Kindle. I loved the book. The story takes place in a Depression-era traveling circus, so that unique setting was perfect for Sara Gruen’s extremely descriptive writing style to paint some beautiful mental images for the reader. The book definitely has some intense themes, but I thought it was a moving story, and it’s the type of book that just really allows you to use your imagination because her writing is so descriptive. So when I heard they were making it into a movie, I was so excited, especially because Reese Witherspoon is one of my absolute favorite actresses. Overall, I thought the movie was good…but not great. Not as good as the book, but then again, I feel like it’s hard for a movie to be as good as the book because you already have your own preconceived notions of how the characters look in your head, and then it’s annoying when they change up the story line, as they always do when adapting a book into a screenplay. To me the biggest thing with the movie that was different than the book was the fact that they took the whole story line of the older Jacob Jankowski out completely. In the book, the chapters alternate between what’s happening in the 1930’s and the present, where Jacob is in the nursing home. I feel like Gruen did an excellent job of candidly describing the challenges that go along with aging, and it only makes his flashbacks of his life as a young man more poignant by contrasting it with him as an elderly man. In the movie, they basically just showed him as an old man in the beginning, he started telling his tale, and then they didn’t show him as an old man again until the end. I was hoping they would have given the movie more of the Notebook treatment where they actually flash between the characters at the different points in their life. I think it would have made the film much more powerful. As far as the casting, it was just alright for me. I feel that sometimes when you have big starts in a film adaptation of a book, it’s hard to see the celebrity as that particular character because you just think of them in other ways. That how I felt about Reese and RPatz, they were both just ok. I think I just imagined Marlena much differently in the book, so while I love Reese Witherspoon and I think that she did a decently good job in the role, her strength to me is much more romantic comedy. And then Robert Pattinson is not at all how I imagined Jacob Jankowski in the book, and honestly, he’s just not that great of an actor in my opinion. I did think that Christoph Waltz was well cast in the role of August, because he really is able to strike that balance between charm and just pure viciousness. According to my hubby (who I dragged to the movie with me), his sort of schizophrenic personality that wavers between the guy that’s gregarious and likable and a person who’s unstable and violent is very similar to the role he played in Inglorious Bastards. (I fell asleep during that movie so I have no idea) Although in my mind, I really pictured August as Billy Zane circa Titanic, just very debonair with a dark side, and Christoph’s wasn’t quite as smooth to me. So overall, it was a pretty good film, but I’d highly recommend the book if you haven’t read it yet!
However, the thing that I did really love about the film was Reese Witherspoon’s whole look in the movie, she was gorgeous. Her 1930’s hair, makeup, and wardrobe were spot on and she just really looked fabulous. I loved the light blonde hair with the waves and big curls, and then she wore a couple head scarves throughout the movie which I thought were really cute. I also loved the great bias cut dresses she wore throughout the movie, her wardrobe was super feminine and elegant. But my favorite thing about her look was her makeup; I love loved the smoky eye she was sporting in some of the scenes, definitely going to try something like that soon!
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