Jacob’s (Robert Pattinson) life changed the day he sat down to take his final exam in veterinary school at Cornell in 1931. The schoolmaster pulled him out of the exam to tell him that both his parents had died in an automobile accident. When he found that his parents had mortgaged the house to pay for his education, and there was nothing left for him, he walked away from everything and jumped a train. It happened to be a circus train.
August (Christoph Waltz), the circus owner, quickly realized that Jacob, as a vet, had a skill that he desperately needed. August was married to Marlena (Reese Witherspoon), a bareback rider and the star attraction of the circus. But August had a dark side, a penchant for hurting others, humans and animals alike, and subjugating them to his will.
The star of the movie is Rosie, a middle-aged elephant August bought to become his star attraction, with the help of Jacob. Soon a love triangle, or maybe a love square, if you include Rosie, develops and circus life during the Great Depression and Prohibition comes to life in front of our eyes.
I like stories about elephants, and I was going to read the novel by Sara Gruen this movie is based on. But now that I ended up seeing the movie first, I think I’ll skip the book. There were eerie reminders of Modoc here, another love story of a man and his elephant.
Rating ** 1/2