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We Bought a Zoo


Year: 2011 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC PG Cert – Parental guidance 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Cameron Crowe 
Starring: Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Haden Church  
An image from We Bought a Zoo

Based on a true story, We Bought a Zoo stars Matt Damon in the role of Benjamin Mee who, seeking to begin a new life after his wife died, reluctantly decides to buy a house that has a zoo on its grounds. The film follows the struggles Ben has to go through not only to restore the zoo to its former glory but also to deal with being a single parent.

As some may remember, this story was also captured in documentary form for the BBC back in 2008. I remember watching some of it back then and was truly fascinated by the obstacles that Ben had to face, like escaped animals, and that even though he had virtually no experience he was ready to embrace the challenge. There are some differences between reality and Hollywood but Ben himself approved the changes so they are not that alarming.

Due to the back-story and my familiarity with it I was slightly wary of what Hollywood might have done to it, but I was pleasantly surprised at how much it stuck to the original. Despite notable changes like the inclusion of a romantic plotline, it was a thoroughly enjoyable film. Matt Damon was requested specifically for this role and performs excellently. When the film ends, you are left wanting more and thankfully, there is the documentary series to indulge in!

Megan Lee

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Screenings of this film:

2011/2012 Summer Term (35mm)