We Bought A Zoo – Why Not?


“Their happiness is too loud.” 7 years old Rosie, played by the incredibly lovely Maggie Elizabeth Jones, said to her father in “We Bought A Zoo”. Incredibly as it may be, these 5 words drum out what has been my existence for a while. And “We Bought A Zoo”, directed by Cameron Crowe was the exact dose of feel-goodness to keep out the happiness that is too loud to our years.

Based on a real story that is as spectacular as the animals in the zoo, the movie is delivered with sensitivity and softness, nothing loud or dramatic; just quiet sympathy to grief and a silent determination to build hope. Benjamin Mee (played by Matt Damon) is a man with 2 kids who had recently lost his wife. And this is their story of a new beginning, working through their grief. There is cliché humour for sure. And there is cliché tragedy. And who says clichés are not worthy of respect for the simple human tragedy that happens every day in our lives. The movie has delivered genuinely and sincerely with a simple story of extraordinary circumstances.

Getting over someone is difficult. For Benjamin, it meant avoiding the condiments aisle in the supermarket, staying away from his favourite café and moving to buy a zoo. For his elder son, it’s about expressing darkness in his drawings. For his younger daughter, it’s about holding on to an old sweater. You wonder sometimes if the past was real, did it matter, what was the point? I’ve spent time with people but when the friendship ends, what is left? Was that even real? Maybe death is a better way of letting go? I don’t know.

So he says, “sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.” I wished someone had told that when I was young and believing, then maybe it will be true when I grew up. This is why, it’s a feel good movie isn’t it: 20 seconds of courage can change things. I’ve had so many 20 seconds of courage to train wreck outcome. Life needs so many more hours of courage and that, never changes.

At some point, a girl asks the zookeeper, “If you have a choice between humans and animals, what would you choose?” It’s not such an easy choice. People hurt people and even when they love, their departure is hurtful in spite of circumstances. Then there are people who care and these out of the ordinary care makes the burden of life so much lighter.

So this is a celebration of the courage. Because, it takes courage to love and know that it will hurt when it is gone. It takes courage to live and know that your happiness may never be loud like for others. It takes courage to continue even though you are bankrupt and may never see returns. I guess, perhaps, it is the hope for a miracle that keeps the living going. How would I know, I just hope that if one day I see the light at the end of the tunnel, it’s not the light of a coming train.

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