NoHo Movie Reviews: Norman” the Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer; The Lost City of Z
Francis Lawrence’s adaptation of Sara Gruen’s novel Water for Elephants is a beautifully filmed, old-fashioned romantic melodrama about forbidden love in a barnstorming circus during the Great Depression. Hal Holbrook continues his string of sterling latter-day turns as old Jacob Jankowski, who has memories of his days in the doomed Benzini Brothers. Circus, circa 1931. Cue flashback and in comes a soulful, brooding Robert Pattinson as young Jacob, a veterinary school dropout (he’s got reasons) who hops the circus train and quickly becomes enmeshed in the filthy (literally and figuratively) side of circus life. His knowledge and compassion for animals quickly catches the eye of star horseback rider Reese Witherspoon –and her alternately charming and sadistic husband, the ringmaster and circus owner Christoph Waltz. Enter Rosie the new elephant and star attraction and before you can say love quadrangle, Witherspoon is making googly eyes at Pattinson, Pattinson is making googly eyes at Witherspoon-- and Rosie (nice chemistry there), Waltz smiles and glowers at everyone depending on his mood or plot development.