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

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7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 167 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 theirWater 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)

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 35
  2. Negative: 5 out of 35
  1. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Apr 21, 2011
    90
    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
    75
    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
    75
    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
    60
    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
    50
    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: Pam Grady
    Apr 21, 2011
    50
    Waltz is the highlight of this glossy but plodding drama, a live wire in a movie that sorely needs a jolt.
  7. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Apr 21, 2011
    20
    How do I count the ways this movie goes wrong?

See all 35 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 56 out of 71
  2. Negative: 5 out of 71
  1. May 1, 2011
    10
    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 thrownEvery 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. Collapse
  2. May 1, 2011
    10
    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 decidedI 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
    10
    WOW! More than I expected! Great entertaining movie for both men and women. Rob Pattinson just jumps off the screen. He is excellent inWOW! 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
    8
    The acting is nice and the background looks neat. Water for Elephants has a nice feature along with great characters. Although, RobertThe 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. Expand
  5. Mar 13, 2015
    7
    In this case, the movie far exceeded my expectations. Beautifully filmed. Great acting. Loved the costuming and authenticity to the timeIn this case, the movie far exceeded my expectations. Beautifully filmed. Great acting. Loved the costuming and authenticity to the time period. music score was amazing. Well told story and lovely feel to the film. Expand
  6. Apr 22, 2011
    7
    This melodramatic, big top, forbidden love, three-ring, tearjerker, chick flick is not the greatest show on earth. It is, however, a deeplyThis melodramatic, big top, forbidden love, three-ring, tearjerker, chick flick is not the greatest show on earth. It is, however, a deeply romantic, beautifully envisioned and passionate ode to the Hollywood of yesteryear. Simply put - and if movies were to mate - it would most certainly be the cinematic love child of THE NOTEBOOK and TITANIC. And if WATER FOR ELEPHANTS were indeed a huge, seagoing passenger vessel - then it's actors on screen chemistry (or huge lack thereof) would be the metaphorical iceberg that started the ship sinking. Good thing it ended when it did...you know, before my 'stupid allergies' starting acting up. *sniff* Expand
  7. May 12, 2011
    0
    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 workHow 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 71 User Reviews

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