Mixed or average reviews - based on 35 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 164 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: 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. (20th Century Fox)

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 35
  2. Negative: 5 out of 35
  1. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Apr 21, 2011
    The filmmakers clearly value their public, crafting a splendid period swooner that delivers classic romance and an indelible insider's view of 1930s circus life.
  2. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Apr 21, 2011
    Reese Witherspoon can do a lot of things as an actor but playing a damaged-goods Depression era dame isn't one of them.
  3. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Apr 21, 2011
    In Water for Elephants, Waltz plays a circus owner and ringleader during the Great Depression, and when he's onscreen, every eye is on him, no matter who is talking.
  4. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Apr 22, 2011
    The primary drawback is the lack of chemistry between the leads, Reese Witherspoon and "Twilight's" Robert Pattinson.
  5. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Apr 22, 2011
    The most rewarding way to watch Water for Elephants is to focus on the sideshow of costumes and craftsmanship, because the romance in the center ring smells like trained animals going through the motions.
  6. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Apr 21, 2011
    Will please fans of Sara Gruen's best seller, but it lacks the vital spark that would have made the drama truly compelling on the screen.
  7. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Apr 21, 2011
    How do I count the ways this movie goes wrong?

See all 35 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 55 out of 70
  2. Negative: 5 out of 70
  1. May 1, 2011
    Every actor on this movie delivered what was required of them brilliantly. It is a good old fashioned romance with a fair bit of drama thrown in. Very entertaining. Expand
  2. May 1, 2011
    I can not believe what some critics have written about this wonderful film. Did they even see the same movie I did?? They probably had decided they were going to harshly review it before they even saw it. Completely unprofessional. This movie was great! Expand
  3. Apr 22, 2011
    WOW! More than I expected! Great entertaining movie for both men and women. Rob Pattinson just jumps off the screen. He is excellent in this. Christoph plays the villain magnificently. Great film with excellent cinematography and costuming. All around a must see movie. Expand
  4. Apr 23, 2011
    The acting is nice and the background looks neat. Water for Elephants has a nice feature along with great characters. Although, Robert Pattinson's acting was very good on a role and it's more interesting than watching those stupid Twilight films, but he did great job in a role and I think that Twilight shouldn't reveal in the first place. The movie is very good and it's not much excellent film like Titanic, but it brings a decency for the terrific actors including our best actor, Christoph Waltz. Enjoy this movie and it's cool. Collapse
  5. Feb 24, 2013
    Water for Elephants is a pretty good movie. The love triangle aspects are easily the weakest elements but are thankfully not too overpowering or heavy handed. The real delights of Water for Elephants are it's excellent period detailing, creeping tension and decent performances. Expand
  6. Oct 15, 2013
    "Water for Elephants" could be more than it is. A beautiful story about love. Circus is stage, it has many colours. Young man loves to older woman than him. It has an interesting story and screenplay but...Robert Pattinson has no charm with Reese Witherspoon. Pattinson is a good actor but there are no chemical link with her. It's a pain becauses this love story I really loved it. Expand
  7. May 12, 2011
    How can Hollywood not know these animals were abused. They are always abused. And of course, there is now video to back it up. Good work Reese Witherspoon! Expand

See all 70 User Reviews