Filn Review: We Bought a Zoo
Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson star in Cameron Crowe’s adaptation of an extraordinary true story.
We Bought a Zoo
WHEN Benjamin Mee’s (Matt Damon) wife dies, he and his two children are left struggling to continue with life in the neighbourhood that reminds them so much of her.
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Benjamin instantly falls in love with an idyllic house set on 17 acres of Californian countryside, however, the property comes with an almighty catch, in that it is home to a zoo-full of exotic animals and an existing staff of live-in keepers.
A despondent Benjamin harnesses daughter Rosie’s enthusiasm and acts on “20 seconds of insane courage”, vowing to turn the failing zoo around.
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However, his new lease of life is met with opposition from his struggling teenage son and passionately determined head zoo-keeper, Kelly Foster (Scarlett Johansson).
The surprising 3/5 star-rating reflects my surprise that the film wasn’t a total flop.
The stomach-churningly schmaltzy trailer would be complete a turn-off for most, but We Bought a Zoo is a testament to how believable performances from a great cast can carry any film, no matter how sickly sweet the premise.
Super-star director, Cameron Crowe, has approached the real Benjamin Mee’s story with care to produce a heart-felt, self-aware, family film, without the gratuitous sentimentality and clich�-ridden script.
Johansson is stripped of her usual stone-cold vixen vibe, emanating authenticity and warmth, as does Damon, who is achingly adorable as doting dad Benjamin.
Extra touches, such as the subtly euphoric soundtrack by J�nsi of Sigur R�s, and carefully placed characters, most notably Elle Fanning as animal-lover Lily, pull everything together for this enchanting film.