A circus of depression.
Jacob (Robert Pattenson) is a veterinary student who is just about to take his final exam when he is informed his parents have died in a car accident. Their home belongs to the state, so Jacob is left with nothing. To rub it in the officer that tells him this delivers the gem of a line "Well if you hadn't gone to college maybe this wouldn't have happened." Nice. Jacob packs his bags and sets out for work. He hops a train that happens to be a traveling circus run by August. (Christoph Waltz) August is a hard ass and initially wants to throw Jacob off of the train, he eventually gives in to the fact that Jacob was becoming a vet, and keeps him aboard to assist with the animals. Jacob begins to form a close relationship with Marlana, (Reese Witherspoon) August's wife and star of their main attraction. Eventually they acquire an elephant named Rosie, and August puts Jacob in charge of training it. Rosie is what brings Jacob and Marlana together, and also what brings out the worst in August.
The pacing of this movie is horrible to say the least. I felt like it dragged it's feet the entire way. It's not that the movie was uninteresting, it just felt like it could've been wrapped up a lot quicker. I try to give Pattenson the benefit of the doubt. I try to look beyond his unfortunate role as Edward Cullen, but his acting didn't really help here. He's easily the weakest link. Christoph Waltz plays a terrific villain and he gets you to hate him quickly. His scenes with Rosie are hard to watch, but effective with what we should be feeling about this character. Reese Witherspoon was good as well, although she and Pattenson have absolutely zero chemistry. Looking back, the elephant was my favorite character. I'll let you decide if that's sad or not. (It is)
A few things I did enjoy about the film were the beautiful music and the sweet ending. Some might find it corny, but I liked it. It made me feel a bit better about waiting so long for it to happen.
Memorable Quote: "We had a pickled Hippo for two weeks." - August (Christoph Waltz)