LIFE IS THE MOST SPECTACULAR SHOW ON EARTH.
In 1931, twentysomething Jacob (Robert Pattinson) loses his parents in an accident and joins a circus where he ends up challenging the star performer’s (Reese Witherspoon) marriage to the ruthless manager (Christoph Waltz). A pleasant Depression-era soaper for sentimental crowds that takes a little time to get started, but ends with an exciting climax. Pattinson’s wooden performance is a liability, but Witherspoon and Waltz as well as many supporting actors compensate. So do high production values, the romantic portrayal of circus life, and Francis Lawrence’s ability to push our buttons.
2011-U.S. 120 min. Color. Widescreen. Directed by Francis Lawrence. Screenplay: Richard LaGravenese. Novel: Sara Gruen. Cast: Reese Witherspoon (Marlena), Robert Pattinson (Jacob), Christoph Waltz (August), Hal Holbrook, Paul Schneider, Jim Norton.
Trivia: Sean Penn was first cast as August; Scarlett Johansson was allegedly considered for the part of Marlena.