We Bought a Zoo is based on the memoir by Benjamin Mee, and it does an excellent job of bringing Benjamin Mee's story to life. The film was released theatrically on December 23, 2011 to the praise of most critics and fans. Matt Damon portrays the character of Benjamin Mee, a man who has been recently widowed. He decides that he and his two children need an entirely new start in life to help get over the loss of his wife and their mother. Mee buys a house that has a small zoo on the property. His young daughter Rosie is in love with the idea of running the zoo, but his teenage son Dylan is less than thrilled. Dylan initially retreats into his artwork instead of bonding with his dad and sister over their new circumstances.
The zoo is in bad shape, but Mee dives in head first to help the loyal workers of the zoo renew the operation to its full glory. Mee quickly realizes that he has gotten in over his head and fears that he will end up losing the zoo and their new home due to a lack of finances. Dylan is thrilled to be leaving, which really hurts the young girl who has developed a crush on him, unbeknownst to Dylan.
Just when it seems that the zoo is a lost cause, Benjamin finds a special investment account left to him by his late wife. It comes in the nick of time. His wife gave him the instructions to use it wisely while listening to his heart as well.