We Bought a Zoo
Love and Hard Work Overcome Tragedy
Release Date: December 23, 2011
Starring: Matt Damon, Scarlett
Johansson, Carla Gallo, Thomas
Haden Church, Collin Ford,
Maggie Elizabeth Jones
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 124 minutes
Distributor: 20th Century Fox/News Corp.
Director: Cameron Crowe
Executive Producer: Ilona Herzberg
Producer: Julie Yorn
Writer: Aline Brosh McKenna, Cameron
Address Comments To:Rupert Murdoch, Chairman/CEO, News Corp.
Chase Carey, President/COO, News Corp.
Tom Rothman and Jim Gianopulos, Chairmen/CEO, Fox Filmed Entertainment
20th Century Fox Film Corp. (Fox Searchlight Pictures/Fox Atomic/FoxFaith)
10201 West Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Phone: (310) 369-1000
Matt Damon stars as Benjamin, an adventure driven reporter with two children trying to deal with the death of his dearly loved wife. Everywhere he goes and everything he sees reminds him of how much he misses her. His son, Dylan (Colin Ford), is troubled and ends up getting expelled from school, in part because he’s obsessed with creating gruesome drawings depicting an underworld. Benjamin’s daughter is a charming little girl who brings joy.
Hoping to get away from the neighborhood reminding him of his wife, and in which his son is descending, he begins hunting for a fresh start in a new neighborhood. With his daughter’s encouragement, they find a home that comes with a zoo and a small zoo staff. The new owner is required to care for the existing animals.
The family has to learn how to work together, even with the sadness they have from the mother’s death. Each member is dealing with this in a different way, but in the end, the new adventure of the zoo unites the family.
Heading the zoo staff is an attractive, dedicated animal lover named Kelly (played by Scarlett Johanssson). The climax rises when the zoo inspector comes and questions aspects of the zoo’s safety. This leads Benjamin to use every penny he has to save it with help from a dedicated staff working from the kindness of their hearts.
WE BOUGHT A ZOO has a redemptive message of a family uniting in the midst of a tragedy. It also has a good lesson about the reward for taking risks and working hard to make a family business venture pay off for the family. The family makes no effort, however, to seek God’s help.
WE BOUGHT A ZOO is well made that will make you cry but also smile. Although the movie has some elements of dysfunction, it’s a dramatic, heartwarming story about loving one’s family and loving other people. The storyline is clear, filled with suspense and drama, and laced with some comic moments. WE BOUGHT A ZOO has some foul language, however. Also, the one son draws macabre pictures and has problems at school, though they’re resolved by the movie’s end. Thus, MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution, especially for pre-teen children.
WE BOUGHT A ZOO plays more like a realistic, but heartwarming, drama about a family struggling to overcome obstacles than a comedy. The uplifting storyline is clear, filled with suspense and drama, but laced with some comic moments. WE BOUGHT A ZOO has a redemptive message of a family uniting in the midst of tragedy, but the family doesn’t appeal to God. Also, there’s some foul language and dysfunctional family moments, so MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for pre-teen children.