That Tricky Thing Called “Chemistry”

Not buying it.

Last weekend I went to see “Water for Elephants” starring Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon.  I had recently read the Depression-era story of a young veterinary student who loses his parents, then hops a train that just so happens to belong to a traveling circus.  I wanted it to be great, but I read the reviews so I had little to no expectations.

I have to say that I really enjoyed the movie as a whole, but (like pretty much everyone else) I didn’t get into these two stars as a couple.  Their romance was forbidden (Reese’s “Marlena” is married to the circus’ owner), which should be exciting, but I just didn’t buy it.  She seemed way too cranky, and Rob. . . well. . .  his “Jacob” just looked bummed out most of the time.  This boggled my mind because Reese is very pretty, and Robert Pattinson is stupid hot.  I thought that was a no-brainer.

The girl Jacob truly had chemistry with was “Rosie,” the titular elephant.  Rosie was played to perfection by Tai, a gorgeous asian elephant.  You can see in the way that Rob looks at Tai that he truly has a thing for her.  It’s crazy.  Why isn’t it that way with Reese?

Totally buying it! Photo: Twentieth Century Fox

Was it just because Rosie is so lovable, and Jacob and Marlena’s relationship is fraught with drama?  Why didn’t audiences get on board?  Just what makes two people (or animals) have “chemistry?”

After a quick Google search, it’s pretty clear that no one else knows, either.  There are lists on some sites for who has the best on-screen chemistry, but none can really explain why.

Cover of


To be sure, it’s not just two beautiful people, or romantic lighting.  Plenty of awkward pairings have benefited from those things to no avail.  If you ask me, there is no answer to chemistry.  Just like in real life, I believe you can’t really help who you love.

As an actor, this realization really hits home.  I feel like there have been plenty of times that I “just wasn’t right” for a role.  Things just didn’t click, no matter how much I wanted it.  That’s why when the perfect part comes along- and the perfect person to play it does too, we see some real fireworks.

What do you think?  Can chemistry be explained, or is it a random fact of life?  Did you see WFE?  Did Rob and Reese fall flat, or am I way off base?  Tell me in the comments, and please click “LIKE” if you liked this post!  xx


About hezaire

I am a Singer/Actor who enjoys writing about music, food, and fashion. View all posts by hezaire

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