Today I hosted a movie night for my friends and we watched the new Cameron Crowe film – We bought a Zoo, with Matt Damon and Scarlet Johansson. This is a true feelgood movie and I liked it a lot (my guests did too!).
He is a bit reluctant to take on a zoo and all of its animals and his brother is very much against the whole idea, however he decides to give it a try when he sees how much his 7-year-old daughter, Rosie, loves the place. However this causes his 14-year-old son, Dylan, to unhappily retreat into his artwork (drawings and paintings which have grown quite macabre since the death of his mother).
The zoo staff, led by head keeper, Kelly, help Benjamin to start renovating the zoo. Benjamin soon runs into financial trouble and the workers’ morale sinks, fearing the property will be sold. Meanwhile, Dylan befriends a young girl named Lily, who has a huge crush on him to which he is completely oblivious. When she tells him that his family might be leaving, he is overjoyed, which hurts her feelings.
Benjamin discovers that his late wife has left him an investment account with instruction to use the money wisely while listening to his heart. While this lifts the zoo workers’ morale, Dylan is unhappy about having to stay. He confronts his father, and a heated argument ensues. They reconcile the next morning, and Dylan admits he misses Lily. Benjamin gives his son advice on reconciling with her.
Prior to the zoo’s grand opening, the facility passes a very stringent inspection, and Dylan, following his father’s advice, confesses to Lily that he loves her and she forgives him.
The worst rainstorm in over 100 years threatens to wash out the zoo’s grand opening, and although the weather clears in time, they are disappointed when no visitors arrive. They soon discover that a fallen tree has blocked the access road, leaving visitors unsure if the zoo is open. Eventually, the zoo is well received by the community. Kelly admits to Benjamin that she has a crush on him but, “can’t get a handle on it.” She kisses him, telling him maybe they can do that again on the New Year eve. Benjamin replies by kissing her and telling her that he is looking forward to New Year’s Eve.
At the end, Benjamin takes his children to where he met their mother, explaining that it was the point in both of their lives where they became a “possibility”. He takes them through that day’s encounter, where Benjamin worked up the nerve to talk to his future wife with “20 seconds of courage,” asking her why such an amazing woman would talk to someone like him. His wife responds, “Why not?”, echoing the reason why Benjamin bought the zoo in the first place.
Watch the Trailer here: