Starring Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson, Christoph Waltz and Hal Holbrook.
Directed by Francis Lawrence.
From casting alone, we know what we're going to get, and we're not disappointed, or dazzled.
We get a nice bookend from Hal Holbrook, an old man at the circus. He remembers back to a time in 1931, where a great tragedy ruined the Benzini Brothers circus. And we're back in '31, and Holbrook's character is now played by Robert Pattinson of Twilight fame. Some geeks find it mandatory to hate Pattinson; I thought he was fine here.
He falls in love with the horse trainer (Reese Witherspoon), who happens to be married to the ringmaster (Christoph Waltz). I was hoping the movie would give the ringmaster shades of humanity, but we learn fairly early he has a habit of throwing employees off the train at night. It beats paying them, and if they die, well, so what. Oh, and he's cruel to animals!
Seriously, if you're the cruel boss, and you've married a gorgeous woman at least ten years younger than you, would you keep inviting that hunk over for dinner who's even younger than she is?
There is a period sweetness to it, though. It's one of those where I'm glad I saw it at the $2 theater instead of first-run, and I imagine the book is better.