One of the truths of being a parent, is that you get to see a lot of movies you would not normally see. Most of the time I am ambivalent to this as the win for me is the time spent with my family.
Then of course there is the first four minutes of Up.

And last night we went to see the movie, We bought a zoo. I had very little expectations for the evening. We went out to dinner before the movie and I told the kids that my wife and I got to pick the restaurant because they were picking the movie. I wasn't sure if I was buying that Matt Damon (who will forever be Will in my mind) could pull off a middle of life Dad.

He can.

The movie is excellent. It has the dark truths of life. Life is hard. People we love die. And it is awful. Parenting is hard. We try our best, and sometimes wonder if we are doing anything right at all.

And the movie has the fun truths of life. Family is the only thing that really matters here on earth. Life is fun and exciting. And it can be an adventure. We need to grab every moment we can from life and enjoy spending it with those we love. Sometimes, pushing on requires nothing more than twenty seconds of absolutely insane courage.

It's a movie so there is some cheese. It oozes in some parts, but it's OK, it works. There's one scene near the end that was just way overboard on the cheese factor that involved a fallen tree.

Based loosely on a true story about a family from England the movie deals with a family that buys a zoo. One of my favorite arches to the story is the father telling stories. In the movie, his daughter laments the fact that he doesn't tell stories anymore. At the end of the movie, he tells his children the story of how he met their mother. His daughter says, "I'm glad you're telling stories again." He looks at her and says, "This is the story before the story. This is the moment that the two of you became a possibility."

I love that. As parents we are called to help our children learn how to tell good stories with the way they live. Too often our lives don't work because we fail to tell a good story with how we live and we know it. We hate it and we rebel against it in our souls. We were created to tell powerful stories that reflect the ultimate story of redemption.

Matt Damon does one of the best acting jobs I've seen him do. Maybe since he played Will all those years ago. Throughout the movie, I found myself being torn between wanting to cry and cheering the characters on. There was also plenty of spots where I was laughing so hard, I was crying. If you are looking for a movie to take your family to see that is both entertaining and surprising true to the struggles of life, this is the movie for you.   

For those of you who like to read the book version of movies first, there is a book that can be had for a decent price. I have already downloaded my copy.

Similar Posts