We Bought a Zoo

Film, Drama
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We Bought a Zoo
It’s not often we get to see Matt Damon in civvy emotions – these days he’s more likely to wear  the dead-eyed stare of a man with too many deaths on his conscience. Here he is, though, with a soulful, tender performance as recently widowed dad-of-two Benjamin, anchoring another happy-sad feelgood drama from Cameron Crowe.

The film is based on British journalist Benjamin Mee’s account of buying Dartmoor Zoo, transplanted by Crowe to California, where even grief is dappled in warm sunlight and mellowed by Cat Stevens. Benjamin buys the tumbledown menagerie on a whim, to the delight of his seven-year-old daughter (Maggie Elizabeth Jones, the cutest kid actor since Drew Barrymore) and the horror of his teenage son. Among its quirky residents, on two legs and four, is zoo keeper Kelly (Scarlett Johansson, too smouldering by half). Crowe, to his credit, is more concerned with insights about family than romance –  and some of these are heart-on-sleeve touching if you’ve got a sweet tooth for the stickier stuff.

By: Cath Clarke


Release details

Release date: Friday March 16 2012
Duration: 0 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Cameron Crowe
Screenwriter: Cameron Crowe, Aline Brosh McKenna
Cast: Matt Damon
Scarlett Johansson
Thomas Haden Church
Elle Fanning

Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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A pure delight. Ok, the inspector was a bit misplaced in his first scenes and why display art work in the school hall that the head disapproves of ? Oh, and would NO ONE think to check the access road on opening day!!! But these mistakes actually ADD to the charm, and did my eyse mist over once or twice? Does a bear shit in this zoo?! 7+/10

Very enjoyable. Kept my attention for 2 hours as it's an engaging story. Good to see Matt Damon avoiding typecasting, although he had a few bad hair moments! Just the right side of sentimental. Scarlett Johannsson is a natural beauty and there was some chemistry with Damon. Left me wanting to find out much more about the real Zoo...

This is a film to make grown men cry. It isn't perfect by any means but it is very good in places. Crowe is back on form in a film that reminds you of the best of both Jerry Maguire and also Field of Dreams. The answer is simple if you build it they will come. If you are a guy and there is a girl you really really like this is the film to take her to see. It made even a hardened cynic like me cry. Enough said.