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We Bought a Zoo

  • Film
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars
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.
Written by Cath Clarke

Release Details

  • Release date:Friday 16 March 2012

Cast and crew

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