I read the book Water for Elephants twice. I didn't intend to read it twice. I'd read it when it first came out in paper, then while looking for something to put on my Kindle, I saw Water for Elephants and not remembering it, I downloaded it. Once I started reading I knew I'd read it before but didn't remember all the details.
I knew I wanted to see the movie because I liked the book, thought they'd picked a good cast, and they made a lot of the movie in Fillmore CA where they keep many old trains and the downtown is much like it was in the olden days.
Of course watching a movie after reading a book can be disappointing, but I can assure you that's not the case here. Yes, there are some slight differences but none that take away any of the essence of the story.
It's a love story with so many facets. Set during the Great Depression, 1930s, when people didn't have money, some no jobs or homes, the only excitement coming from when the circus came to town. In this case, the circus is struggling as much as the townspeople. The story is as about the many different characters who work for the circus--often without being paid. At times the story is brutal to both man and beast--exactly as it probably was at that time.
I'm not going to say anymore because I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't read the book and wants to see the movie. What I can tell you is that you won't be disappointed. It's the best movie I've seen all year.