Cameron Crowe is good at one thing and that is making the audience that watches his films feel emotion. Vanilla Sky, Elizabethtown, and Jerry Maguire are all perfect examples of this. Fortunately, We Bought A Zoo follows in this line of succession and Cameron Crowe reminds us once more why his films are worth waiting for.
The film is based on a true story as well as a novel written by the main character of the film Benjamin Mee, who is played by the delightful Matt Damon. Benjamin is struggling with the recent loss of his beloved wife Katherine (Stephanie Szostak) and to make matters worse his son Dylan (Colin Ford) was expelled from school for stealing. So Ben courageously decides to pack his bags and kids, and look for something new.
Can we really blame the guy? I would want a fresh start too. So when looking for new homes nothing really quite stands out to Ben, until they get to one house and the realtor (JB Smoove) isn’t fourth coming about why the place is “complicated”. One could ponder why in the world a zoo is for sale through a plain jane real-estate company as well. Either way it didn’t stop Bejamin Mee from picking up the hammer and doing something good for the heck of it now did it?
We Bought A Zoo is funny, heartfelt, and is a good example of damn good storytelling. There are many times in the film that will make you want to question Ben’s logic and his Brother Duncan (Thomas Haden Church) won’t blame you.
However, all Zoos must have a staff and this one is a little short, but they make pretty good on their own. Scarlett Johansson is the lead Zookeeper Kelly Foster; she knows the animals and the staff like they are her own siblings.
Needless to say that Kelly isn’t alone with the Zoo keeping duties. Her team consists of the maintenance Guy Peter Macready (Angus MacFadyen), Robin (Patrick Fugit) who ceases to be seen without a monkey on his shoulders, and Rhonda (Carla Gallo) the financial assistant. Elle Fanning plays Lily who also helps out with things around the Zoo, but is here mainly as a love interest for Dylan’s sake.
The acting is superb from all the major players involved and is another reason why We Bought A Zoo is a worthwhile film. The movie plain and simply has a heart, it also isn’t afraid to ask questions. The most common of them throughout the whole film and Kelly says it for us all is “why”.
We Bought A Zoo not only answers all the questions it presents us, but it tells a good story and I think it is something that shouldn’t be missed. I also think that if you have never seen a film by Cameron Crowe that you are in for a real treat.