We Bought a Zoo (2011) Review

I think it is fair to say that this movie had a similar feel to George Clooney’s The Decendants (2011), though perhaps not as smooth.  I didn’t really like Scarlett Johansson’s acting in this movie, at the same time though, I don’t really remember a movie where her acting skills really stood out in the past.  I think Matt Damon did a good job as widower Benjamin Mee, who apparently is a real person, and this movie is based on the true story of the Mee family and Dartmoor Zoological Park (which I was completely unaware of prior to watching the movie).  For those of you who prefer reading the book before watching the film, the story is based off of Mee’s personal memoir, so you might want to check that out before watching the film.

I was really impressed by Elle Fanning’s acting; she caught my eye in Super 8 (2011), I thought she was wonderful there.  I think after seeing her acting in this film, I think that she and Dakota are great young actresses; both are very convincing in the roles they take on, and both are different in the kinds of roles they take.  It might be interesting to see them act in a film together.

Oddly enough, I don’t have too much more to say about the film other than it is very subtly funny, and as I’ve said before, reminds me a lot of Clooney’s The Decendants and even his Up in the Air (2009)–though a little less serious than those two films.  The film was also a bit of a tear-jerker, especially the parts where Benjamin Mee is particularly struggling with accepting the loss of his wife.

Now onto my review for this movie, which is below the cut.

Originality: ****
Picture: ****
Sound: ****
Story: ****
Casting: ****
Re-watch Factor: ***
Overall: ***


This movie is a nice story, but at the same time, it is not something I personally can find myself rewatching over and over.  I’m not saying it’s a bad film though; I just have no personal attachment to it.  It was worth watching in theaters and good for what it is.  Again, the only thing that bothered me about this film was Johansson’s acting, but other than that, I thought it was a pleasant viewing experience.

The last thing I want to say is the ending to this film is very heartwarming and a bit bittersweet.  In fact, I found the last few scenes of the movie to be quite beautiful and touching.

Some of you may be wondering (as I did) after watching the trailer for this film, why did Benjamin Mee buy this zoo in the first place?  After watching the film, I found the two-word answer I was given to actually be quite satisfying.

“Why not?”

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