There’s something remarkably cinematic about a Depression-era circus. The carnival workers brought magic and make-believe to one of the realist eras in history, delighting and reigniting passion in a generation of children forced to grow up too fast.
Seeing as Water for Elephants attempts to recreate this notoriously tough time under the big top of Hollywood glitz and glamour, you would think it would be a pitch-perfect weekday getaway. After all, the book it’s based on (written by Canadian Sara Gruen) was a headline act for bookworms, heralded for its perfect mix of fantastical romanticism and realism. Unfortunately, this adaptation comes across more like a well-worn middle-of-show magic act. It’s definitely enjoyable, but oh-so-easy to see through.