Last night, I was lucky enough to watch a preview of new film 'We Bought A Zoo', thanks to Mumsnet, who picked me and four other bloggers to have a sneak peek.
Here's how the film is described by the distributor: "WE BOUGHT A ZOO is a funny, inspiring and true story about the magical power of family to persevere in the face of extraordinary challenges. This is acclaimed filmmaker Cameron Crowe’s (Jerry Maguire) first motion picture for all audiences, and stars Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson and Thomas Haden Church. Damon portrays a single dad who, looking to give his family a much needed fresh start, moves to a home situated in the middle of a zoo, which he and his two children will attempt to bring back to its once glorious state. The film weaves together warmth, laughter and a spirit of optimism and is perfect to get together for."
So what did I think? The film dealt with the loss of a wife and mother in a very moving way. There was plenty of sniffling and wiping of eyes going on in the screening room. A-lister Matt Damon was excellent as the grieving widower. After his Bourne films, this was a real change for him. He's out of shape, rundown and just trying to make things better for his kids. The film really captured the difficulty of moving on after bereavement and how little reminders of the person are everywhere you turn.
In order to try and get a fresh start for the family, Damon as Benjamin Mee, decides to move. He finds their dream house, only to discover it comes with a zoo full of endangered animals and a coterie of odd staff members. The staff and animals add great humour to the film - McCready, the drunk and angry zookeeper, is a standout character.
Screen vamp Scarlett Johannson is in charge of the zoo and is also playing against her usual type. She spends the film wearing a string of ugly jumpers and jumpsuits! She helps provide some pragmatism to Mee's adventure-chasing and dreaming.
The film really made me think what crazy dream would I love to go after? The whole movie is shot in a hazy, summery light - which really captures the essence of going after your desires and making them real. That, along with excellent footage of the animals, makes this a beautiful film to watch. There's a strong message about being scared to go for something, but doing it anyway, which I really enjoyed.
However, my husband was not convinced. It was too saccahrine for him and he didn't get swept away with it at all - in fact, he did occasionally groan at some of the more emotional dialogue!
I enjoyed it - it made me cry, laugh and dream. For me, the scene stealer was the young girl playing Mee's daughter, Maggie Elizabeth Jones. She is so cute and beautiful, I expect to see her on the big screen for years to come.
An added bonus to the night was my goody bag!
The film is on general release in the UK from Friday 16th March. Check out the trailer below:
There are competitions, clips and interviews about the film on its Facebook page
I am a member of the Mumsnet Blogging Network, a group of parent bloggers picked by Mumsnet to review products, services, events and brands. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.