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We Bought A Zoo (2011)
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Language and some thematic elements
Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Elle Fanning, Patrick Fugit, Thomas Haden Church, Elizabeth Jones, Stephanie Szostak, Carla Gallo, John Michael Higgins, Desi Lydic, Peter Riegert, Colin Ford
Aline Brosh McKenna, Cameron Crowe, Benjamin Mee
Acclaimed filmmaker Cameron Crowe (Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous) directs an amazing and true story about a single dad who decides his family needs a fresh start, so he and his two children move to the most unlikely of places: a zoo. With the help of an eclectic staff, and with many misadventures along the way, the family works to return the dilapidated zoo to its former wonder and glory.
We Bought A Zoo (2011) | Review
More Than An Animal Movie
What was interesting to me, is that I had had the complete opposite reaction to the film. I thought it was a movie about hope and new life.A story about remembering a sweet history, but learning to take brave steps into the future, because life goes on. I think I must have a kindred spirit in Cameron Crowe, the movie's director. He had me atSay Anything. He has the ability to skillfully commingle the bitter and sweet parts of life without becoming overly sentimental or broody. I like that he doesn't shy away from a difficult topic like death, but explores it in a tender and heartfelt manner, simply as a part of life.
We Bought A Zoo is the story of the Mee family. As the story unfolds, we find the father, Benjamin, played by Matt Damon, in survival mode, living on PB&J's and lasagna. He has recently lost his wife and soulmate, and his children, Rosie and Dylan, are struggling to live a life without their mother. Making a hasty decision, he quits his job as a journalist and moves his family out to the country to take a chance on a new life. He purchases a small zoo which he, his family, and the current zoo staff will have to renovate and re-open as a viable business.
During the process, we enjoy the antics of the animals and their interactions with the characters. The challenge of successfully running a zoo becomes an adventure in itself, that provides the backdrop for growth and healing within the Mee family. There are opportunities for honor in death, as well as the chance for vulnerability and happiness in a rebirthed life. The interactions between Benjamin and his son are particularly poignant. At the end of the movie, I couldn't help but wonder if Benjamin's wife was proud of the new legacy he was building with their children.
Life is fraught with difficulties, and death's sting is definitely the most painful. God has conquered death through the death and resurrection of Jesus. When we trust in Him, we are also rebirthed to new life through Him. We have the opportunity to be part of His heritage. He calls us all to a new adventure within His Kingdom purposes.He is the God of second chances.
My children enjoyed the movie. It wasn't too heavy, and they truly enjoyed the characters, both animal and human. They also enjoyed the behind-the-scenes features and interviews on the making of the movie, included on the DVD. And because We Bought A Zoowas based on a true story, they of course would love to visit the real Dartmoor Zoo... sure, kids, next time we are in England!
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