Water for Elephants (2011) – Frances Lawrence

Melodrama about the so-called romance of the circus life tells the story of a depression era veterinarian (Robert Pattenson) who is down on his luck and stows away on a circus train that (gasp!) needs a vet for its large animals. There he falls in love with the boss’s wife (Reese Witherspoon) while keeping at bay her husband, the ringleader (Christoph Waltz, drawing comparisons to Peter Ustinov in Lola Montes). Witherspoon does her best with some clunky dialogue and Waltz doesn’t quite master the pivot between danger and charm that his Oscar-winning performance in Inglorious Basterds did but the script doesn’t help him, lacking in both danger and charm. There’s nothing really wrong with the picture, but nothing too good either.

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