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Home > Movies > We Bought a Zoo

We Bought a Zoo

Critic's Pick Critics' Pick

(No longer in theaters)
  • Rating: PG — for language and some thematic elements
  • Director: Cameron Crowe   Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Matt Damon, Elle Fanning, Carla Gallo, Thomas Haden Church
  • Running Time: 124 minutes
  • Reader Rating: Write a Review

Genre

Comedy, Drama, Family

Distributor

20th Century Fox

Release Date

Dec 23, 2011

Release Notes

Nationwide

Official Website

Review

Cameron Crowe is a romantic bordering on utopian, and his authentic family values—biological and surrogate—shine through in his enchanting We Bought a Zoo, loosely adapted from Benjamin Mee’s memoir. “We” is Matt Damon, in shock from the death of his wife, and his two kids, who move into a house with a foundering menagerie and a staff including Scarlett Johansson as the head keeper. The movie is formulaic (money crises, runaway snakes, a villainous inspector), but the grief-whimsy continuum that Daldry labors so hard to trace in Extremely Loud comes easily to Crowe. The score by Jónsi—twinkly, with elegiac underpinnings—gives the animals a supernatural vibe, and Damon and Colin Ford as his teen son have an affecting hesitancy, their hearts hovering between the living and the dead.