Now, those who know me will be aware that whilst not exactly in my dotage, nor am I in the first flush of youth. I have an embarrassing love of early 90s dance music, for example, that dates me horribly, and sometimes I go through recipe magazines, cutting out things that look nice and saving them in a special clippings folder. In the summer I often go to bed while it's still light outside, and I have taken to annoying the students I teach by noisily reminiscing about how I got a full grant and free tuition at university.
So, as a fully-fledged grown-up, I was understandably a little nervous about the film version of Water For Elephants, currently showing at Parrswood in Didsbury. For one thing, I love Sara Gruen's book very much indeed, and as a senior person I am entitled to exclaim crossly about new-fangled TV and film versions of cherished novels never, ever being as good as the book. Secondly, I had become aware that the prize role of Jacob Jankowski had gone to Robert Pattinson, a youth of whom I had only a very vague idea - a passing notion of a twelve-year-old boy who, in my head, looked a little like Jedward, only singular.
It is with some reluctance, then, that I note the following:
- The film is very good indeed. Yes, Reese Witherspoon seems a little old to play Marlena, and her chin - if possible - is pointier than ever; I swear you could get hold of it and snap it right off if you were so-minded. But Christoph Waltz is on mighty form as psycho animal-beater August, sporting the most cruelly seductive smirk yet seen this decade as he veers from charmer to devil in the blink of an eye.
- An elephant would clearly make an excellent pet; I have begun a campaign to be allowed one of my own, to be named Rosie and trained to do tricks, only in English not Polish. Cat and husband both currently ambivalent about potential advantages of this as-yet imaginary pet.
- I have developed an unseemly and inappropriate crush on Robert Pattinson. It turns out he is not a pasty-faced, low-trousered teen at all, but a proper man who can look both vulnerable and as if about to combust with internal hotness whilst wearing a waistcoat. He is simply perfect for the role; indeed, the sight of a recently-beaten, smouldering, glowering Pattinson beginning a vengeful trek down a train track, at night, with emotive music, prompted audible gasps of wonder from an army of thirty-something ladies as their popcorn slipped to the floor, unnoticed.
Despite all of this, though, I am pleased to confirm that I am still old and miserable - I made sure that I rolled my eyes with particular gusto at the lengthy queue of people hoping to see Pirates of the Caribbean 12: Dear God, This Time It's Desperate that we passed on the way out.