I saw Water for Elephants last night. I read the book when it first came out in paperback probably four or five years ago so it wasn't exactly fresh! I felt like the movie stayed pretty close to the book; the kind of seamy quality to circus life was definitely there. I am a Reese Witherspoon fan - if I see Legally Blonde on TV I will watch it every time! But in this movie, vampire boy stole the show. His emotions seemed so much more real, he was believeable as Jacob where Reese looked like she was acting as Marlena.
Just in case you didn't read the book, here's a synopsis from Goodreads - (book is highly recommended): Though he may not speak of them, the memories still dwell inside Jacob Jankowski's ninety-something-year-old mind. Memories of himself as a young man, tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. Memories of a world filled with freaks and clowns, with wonder and pain and anger and passion; a world with its own narrow, irrational rules, its own way of life, and its own way of death. The world of the circus: to Jacob it was both salvation and a living hell.
Jacob was there because his luck had run out - orphaned and penniless, he had no direction until he landed on this locomotive 'ship of fools'. It was the early part of the Great Depression, and everyone in this third-rate circus was lucky to have any job at all. Marlena, the star of the equestrian act, was there because she fell in love with the wrong man, a handsome circus boss with a wide mean streak. And Rosie the elephant was there because she was the great gray hope, the new act that was going to be the salvation of the circus; the only problem was, Rosie didn't have an act - in fact, she couldn't even follow instructions. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio was one of love and trust, and ultimately, it was their only hope for survival.