Yesterday I saw We Bought a Zoo, starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson.
Benjamin (Damon) just wants to make life better for his family. He recently lost his beloved wife and his teenage son is suffering from a horrible depression. He quits his job and decides to move the family to the country—to a zoo—and begin a new chapter of life.
Crazy? Absolutely. But sincere and genuine too, which Damon conveys almost painfully well.
Soon Benjamin is fighting the crush he has on his zookeeper, Kelly (Johansson), and trying to scrape together enough money to re-open the zoo, all the while dealing with his angry son and his sweet little daughter, who seems to be the most balanced of the entire bunch.
The kids who play the children, Colin Ford and Maggie Elizabeth Jones, are wonderful. Sure, they're cute, but they're in no, way, shape or form annoying (which often happens in these family flicks).
And did I mention this is a family flick that was directed by Seattle stud Cameron Crowe?
Were it not for the cool music that accompanied key scenes of the film, I dare say I would not have recognized his style at all. This film is a far cry from Almost Famous, but maintains the same heart and honesty that's at the core of his best films.
Is it predictable? Sure. Does it stray from the real-life story maybe a little too much? I'd say so.
But that doesn't mean it's not a satisfying, sweet departure from some of the heavier films out this season.