Box art for We Bought a Zoo

We Bought a Zoo

action & adventure, drama

Oscar® Winner Matt Damon gives a heartfelt performance in this delightful film that's based on a true story.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 12
3 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
2 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive messages
5 out of 5
Positive role models
4 out of 5
1 out of 5
2 out of 5

Family film tackles grief with humor and deep empathy.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that director Cameron Crowe's drama inspired by real-life events revolves around a family dealing with the loss of a beloved mother. As such, some moments of reminiscing and discussion about her death may be too sad/intense for younger kids. There's also quite a bit of swearing for a PG-rated movie (including "s--t"), some social drinking and flirting, creepy images (in drawings by an unhappy teenage boy), and the implication that the Easter Bunny isn't real. Nevertheless, We Bought a Zoo (which stars Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson) is a heartfelt and inspiring film about how a family pulls through difficulty and how being with animals -- and those who care for them -- can help heal the soul.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about We Bought a Zoo's messages. What is it saying about loss? About family? Are the characters realistic and relatable? How do you think you'd cope in similar circumstances?
  • Parents, talk to your kids about loss and how it can impact a person in many ways. Are there many different ways to grieve? Why?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 20
    see all We Bought a Zoo reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: The film is sweet. Its observations of life in the aftermath of death ring true, especially for anyone who's traveled the contours of mourning.

- Amy Biancolli, San Francisco Chronicle, Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fresh: "We Bought a Zoo" provides a welcome seasonal dash of wholesomeness and humor, but it's also a heartening celebration of second acts, even at their most unwelcome.

- Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, Friday, December 23, 2011

Fresh: While not quite Crowe at his absolute best, it carries his humanistic imprint and benefits from a strong acting ensemble that keep emotions in check.

- Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times, Thursday, December 22, 2011

Audience Reviews

0 star

This has a pretty rad title, and who can resist a movie about (semi-domesticated) wild creatures transforming a dysfunctional family?

- janna, Monday, November 29, 2010

3 stars

This was okay to watch once. Drags on a bit, but story is nice and cast are good.

- romy861, Saturday, December 1, 2012

3 stars

This was okay to watch once. Drags on a bit, but story is nice and cast are good.

- romy861, Saturday, December 1, 2012