We Bought a Zoo is the touching story of a father of 2 – Benjamin Mee (Matt Damon) - who has recently become a widower. He is at loose ends as his young son (Dylan) repeatedly gets into trouble at school, and eventually Dylan gets expelled. Mee starts looking for a fresh start and finds it when he comes across a zoo for sale.
This is a heart-warming story that is for adults and older children (12 and over). There is a lot of good stuff to talk about here – starting with the story itself. It is something that you think could only happen in the movies, however it is based on a true story. The performances are also fantastic. Damon as Mee is convincing, you can feel the depth of his loss, and when he and his son have a really big fight, you see his anger. Scarlett Johansen as the zoo director was fantastic in her ‘plain Jane’, take no guff performance. The two children also delivered high calibre performances with Colin Ford as Dylan Mee really delivers in the scenes that required high emotion. Maggie Elizabeth Jones as Rosie Mee is adorable. Elle Fanning also gives a great performance. Thomas Hayden Church brings in a great performance and adds the much needed comic relief.
Although this family DVD is billed as a movie suitable for kids, and I watched it with mine, I would recommend it for the older crowd. There are some fairly mature themes in this movie, and despite the whole idea of owning a zoo being really appealing to kids, it is a rather melancholic flick.
The final good point of this movie is the soundtrack. It is inspired and inspiring, and really fits the moods and feeling of this movie.
The bottom line is that I highly recommend this movie.