Opening 28 Apr 2011
Jacob (Robert Pattinson) is the son of Polish immigrants who have sacrificed everything to give him a college education. On the day of his final veterinary science exam at Cornell, however, Jacob's parents are in a fatal car accident, and he not only misses his exam, but is left in dire straights during the American Depression. He literally hops the first train out of town which, surprisingly, belongs to a struggling circus owned by August (Christoph Waltz), a tyrannical and dangerous man. Jacob is given the job as circus vet and immediately becomes entranced with August's wife Marlena (Reese Witherspoon), who is the feature of the show with her beautiful horses. The riding act is destroyed when one of the horses must be put down, but August then acquires Rosie the elephant. Jacob as bullman and Marlena as Rosie's rider become romantically involved.
The romance is risky, and August becomes more dangerous than ever. Jacob is finally able to convince Marlena to leave August, but not before the circus and August are destroyed under extreme circumstances. The movie stays true to the book of the same title by Sara Gruen, and the story is poignantly told by Jacob as an old man. (Thelma Freedman)