We Bought a Zoo – Review

Free roaming peacock from our zoo visit

My 6 year old daughter went through a long phase of wanting to become an animal scientist and although she has moved on to wanting to be a “multimedia artist” I was still surprised that she wasn’t more excited about seeing “We Bought a Zoo” starring Matt Damon and directed by Cameron Crowe.  I really liked it!  She had her heart set on Chip-wrecked so maybe it was predetermined that she wasn’t going to enjoy it and feel the need to repeat her new word “boring” throughout the whole film.  Although in her defense there were many scenes where things got very adult (not that kind of adult!) the stuff that is boring for kids but not adults.  My 4 year old son was happy just to kick back on my lap for the majority of the picture.  He is happy as long as he has his mama!  I am really looking forward to the day when we can all be happy watching “family movies” and not silly kid’s movies.  With the exception of a few that are fun for adults too like all the Shrek movies, kids movies are so boring to me!  Let’s get back to me and how I enjoyed this movie…

We bought a Zoo, based on a memoir by Benjamin Mee is about a dad struggling to raise two children on his own after the death of his wife.  Multiple factors precipitate a desire to move or escape and when the realtor shows him a remote country house he falls instantly in love but the house is “complicated” according to the realtor.  The house comes with a zoo.  No, he thinks but then he sees his young daughter interacting with the peacocks and he reconsiders thinking that maybe what they need is an adventure.  With the help of an inheritance Benjamin, his children, and the small zoo staff manage to make the necessary fixes and bring the zoo up to code for a (spoiler-alert!) grand summer opening day!  Throughout the movie Benjamin is coming to terms with the loss of his wife and dealing with the strained relationship with this adolescent son.

I enjoyed this movie.  It had some great music including Tom Petty and Neil Young plus some nice moody music by Jónsi.  The acting was the believable, the cast was likeable including Scarlett Johansson as the head zookeeper, and even thought the story-line was a bit predictable I just didn’t care!   If you are in the mood for a feel good, do something great, inspirational movie then I recommend you check out “We Bought a Zoo”!


  1. Oh good! My daughter and I were just talking about going to see this. Since she’s not back to school until next Monday, this might just help fill an afternoon. Thanks!

  2. Love hearing that your four year old still wants to snuggle on your lap. Little boys are so amazing!

    I have been curious about this movie. We watched Home Alone and Home Alone 2 with our six year old daughter and almost 2 1/2 year old son, and we all LOVED them. They are the perfect holiday movies. The are John Hughes productions, so they’ve got that going for them, and they just feel good to watch! My son has been pretending to be “Kevin” (the MacCauley Caulkin…geez, how do you spell that anyway?) for the last few days. They are a little violent, but we let it go as we were enjoying all the traps Kevin set for the “robbers”. Really fun!

    • I definitely am over-protective when it comes to movies and my kids. There were a couple of “naughty” words in this movie and I probably should have mentioned that in the review, not exactly swears but ones I hope my kids don’t repeat!
      John Hughes movies are totally our generation – forgot that was one, we should try that one!
      & Boys are so cuddly! Thanks Tiffanie!!!

    • Thanks for the comment Larissa, it is in theaters now – not sure if Canada get movies on the same timing as US. I guess you will have to wait a little while : (


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