We Bought a Zoo sounds interesting enough but today I discovered THE feel good film of the year. (And to think that I almost didn’t go after watching the trailer and thinking it was just another cute animal film.) Directed by Cameron Crowe and starring Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Haden Church, Colin Ford, and Maggie Elizabeth Jones as Rosie Mee (Maggie is from Georgia and lives next door to my buddy Ken who says she is the greatest kid!) Maggie is an absolute natural and lights up the screen. Scarlett Johansson is gold as Kelly Foster. The entire cast seemed as if they had been running the zoo for years.
Based on a true story, the movie just made me feel great. It was Joyous! The casting was perfect. For me, Matt Damon is best in this role. There is a scene when he is sitting with his computer and the camera comes in so close to only show his eyes the emotion wrapped itself around me. The cinematography was beautiful. (You’d never know it was during the winter season in California!) The lighting was brilliant. One of my favorite scenes shows Matt reflecting outside of the house with the sun dancing through trees whispering in the wind. The peacefulness and reflective song “Sun” by Jonsi captures what Matt’s character is feeling on screen and what I was feeling as a viewer. Another involves a character standing in the window during the rain and again every aspect of the scene from the acting, lighting and the music combine to pull at your heart. The score is truly the DNA of this film. Composed at the request of director Cameron Crowe, features music by Sigur Ros front man and leading light, Jon Thor Birgisson, aka Jonsi. I was lifted to a higher place through the emotionally empowering music of this beautifully brilliant film. As tears rolled down my face repeatedly during the movie I listened to the music and floated away getting lost in the moment. Every scene fluidly scored lifted my heart higher and higher and truly touched my soul. I’ve never felt like this from a movie or soundtrack. I guess the movie resonates with me because I was reminded of my mom and my dog Parker who both have passed on.
The film is so pure and filled with light. As one reviewer wrote “achingly beautiful themes…a series of themes that would reflect everything we’d hoped for.” The now discovered fact that Cameron encouraged the actors to listen to the music before a scene explains why their emotions are so beautifully expressed on screen. This music is a part of the films DNA ingrained in my memory, my heart and spirit. The music of Jonsi captures the light and the film shines like a joyous bright star discovered for the very first time. I not only downloaded this soundtrack immediately after seeing the film (I’ve only done this one other time) but I also ordered the c.d. as a reminder of the day I discovered Jonsi. And thank you Cameron Crowe for your vision in requesting the musical paint that covers the heartfelt canvas of “We Bought a Zoo.”
Here’s another feel good moment!