We Bought a Zoo (2011) Review

Based on a true story of a family dealing with the loss of the mother, Benjamin moves his young family of his daughter Rosie and son Dylan to a new house. It just happens to also be a run down zoo which needs doing up and the animals being looked after.

I wasn’t really expecting much from this film and how wrong an attitude that was to approach this film with. It is a heartfelt and heartwarming story from start to finish and shows how people of different ages cope with loss. It shows how a family can be brought together and how a father and son can eventually start to get along with each other after a very emotional and hard to watch scene.

We see Benjamin really struggling to come to terms with the death of this wife and avoiding different places in the town they lived. So much so that this prompted the movie to a place 18 miles away. He would not go into the restaurant where they first met and avoided talking about her with Rosie and Dylan. The move to the zoo was really confirmed when he saw how happy Rosie was with the animals and decided to go for it. His brother was not very impressed with the idea but stood by him and helped out. The big problem with it all though was Dylan, he didn’t want to move and wanted to stay close to his friends even though he had been expelled from school.

So we have a very moving family drama and I really did find it compelling from start to finish. I found myself caring about what was going to happen to the family and if they would be able to reconnect. Especially father and son, forgetting that Dylan seemed to have a lot of his childhood taken away from him. It does show how animals can help people in times of great need as well, I hope that doesn’t sound too silly its just from the story it really does help when they are looking after the animals and rebuilding the zoo.

We are left wondering throughout the film if Benjamin and Kelly would end up together as they seem to instantly have a connection with one another. Something which adds another type of relationship to the film, as we have many different types within the family structure this gives an outsider the chance to become part of the family.

I really enjoyed Matt Damon’s performance in this film, possibly one of the best I’ve seen from him and I would put it up there with Good Will Hunting. I know that may seem like a bold statement to make but I really do feel he gave it his all for this role and another side to show just how good of an actor he really is. Based on a true story of a family who bought a zoo and still actually live their to this day. I liked the use of the characters saying “we bought a zoo” as I think it made the otherwise strange film title feel a bit better.

Overall, I really found myself consumed with this film and would happily watch it again in the future as it really was enjoyable. I think my praise for this film is so high because I wasn’t expecting to like it very much in all honesty. I do love it when a film surprises you and this is one of those films, if you will give it a watch!

5 thoughts on “We Bought a Zoo (2011) Review

  1. I too enjoyed this film 🙂 I love animals as well so that’s probably why xD In the true story though the wife died after they bought the zoo, I believe just before it opened…but the film is still a nice story!
    It was shot in a zoo in Devon where I live, and I’ve been there a few times which is what initially drew me to it, and I was pleasantly surprised by it as well! 🙂


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