Tuesday, 1 January 2013

A New Start

“A New Start” is the Swedish-translated-back-into-English title of the DVD with which my friends and I ended the old year last night. No use to go googling for that title, though, because the original is We Bought A Zoo

File:We Bought a Zoo Poster.jpg

Benjamin’s wife died and he is left with two children to take care of: a little girl and a teenage boy. The boy is having some trouble in school since the death of the mother, and father and son don’t communicate very well either. Benjamines decides they all need a new start as a family. The house and property he and the daughter fall in love with turns out to come with a very special surprise challenge, though: It includes a zoo, which is in need of some repair (and has to pass an inspection) before it can be re-opened to the public. It also includes a group of experienced but tired staff, rather sceptical whether the new owners will really be up for seeing the project through…

The film is based on a true story. I did not notice that until the aftertexts (although there was a note about it on the DVD-cover as well) and was a bit surprised, as I found “the plot” as such to be the weakest part of the film.

It’s a charming film however, and much thanks to the actors (both animals and people). Matt Damon plays Benjamin, and Scarlett Johansson the sceptical zookeeper. Maggie Elizabeth Jones in the role of the little daughter is a true ray of sunshine, and Colin Ford does a convincing surly teenage son who mostly prefers to withdraw into his own world, expressing his dark moods in artwork.

It’s a feel good family movie; the plot and some of the side characters rather simplified, but at the same time not too much sugarcoating of the genuine feelings to do with the main characters’ process of dealing with grief and “getting on with their lives”.


  1. I tried to read the book. I won't watch the film because I can never stay awake.

    1. It's a book as well?! I had no idea. (I also just learned that the real events the film was based on took place in England, not in the US.)

    2. I seem to recall the book Monica. I seem to recollect buying it. About a bloke that bought a house in Devon. Nothing of importance happens in th USA.

  2. First time I hear of this film (and book), but that is hardly surprising since I am generally not very well informed about films. I liked Scarlett Johansson in "Lost in Translation" because she looked like a normal woman.

  3. i like feel good movies, but they always also make me cry. sometimes in sadness and sometimes with joy...

  4. Sounds worth a look. Thanks for the review Monica.

  5. Oddly I'm fairly certain that I saw it in the DVD hire shop recently. Perhaps I'll give it a go. The Grocer's Son was this evening's offering. I can't remember who recommended it though.


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