On Sunday, I rented “We Bought A Zoo” on iTunes. P.S. Have I ever told you how much I love the ‘Rent’ feature on iTunes? Anyway, besides thinking Matt Damon is gorgeous, I rented this movie because I’ve been needing a feel good family movie. If you’re not going to read anything beyond this paragraph, read this: Mission Accomplished.
Somehow, no matter how hard I try to avoid the movies where the plot is influenced by a character who has/had caner, they still end up in my movie library. But this time, the tears were not left over tears from the breakdown I apparently have not completely processed despite being carried home by my best friends after getting one of the worst phone calls ever. This time, the tears stemmed from a place that said “gone but not forgotten”. And yes, that motto is associated with POWs and MIAs, but really, it applies to anyone who has ever been lost.
Benjamin Mee is an adventure-seeker writer whose life gets turned upside-down when his wife, and one true love, passes away. He has two kids–the younger girl who seems to be dealing okay with it and the older, teenage boy who is mad at the world, and especially at his dad. So, Benjamin goes looking for something new, anything new, new everything. And he finds a house in the country that’s perfect, but comes with one little complication… It’s a zoo.
Obviously, for this to be a feel good movie, there has to be a happy ending. So, spoiler alert, yes, the zoo survives. But the part that hit home for me was the part where Benjamin admits that no matter how far away he ran, no matter how different or how new everything is, there’s no clear-cut way to let go of the past. I’ve had very similar experiences with my aunt, New Orleans, my grandma, and most recently, my Bob. I’ve never figured out what the best thing to call him is–he’s not my dad although he’s always been one to me, he’s not my uncle although he’s always treated me like family–so, I’m just going to go with My Bob. So, when the zoo survives and the family all gets on the same page, as part of a half modern-day/half flashback, the movie ends with an answer that, was used previously in the film and brought full circle later, has always been a part of my repertoire and, more recently, my slogan: