“You know what I see when I look at you, Mom?” Grey, five years old, grabs my hand in the dark of the movie theater, jostled from behind as the crowd exits.
The apples of his cheeks glow in the flickering light as he looks up at me. He looks so earnest. “What, sugar?”
“I see you are beautiful, Mom.” He squeezes my hand and, satisfied, nods to himself as he looks forward, toward his older brother entering the lobby. I can already tell Quinn is not going to want to talk about this movie.
Do you know how hard it is to find a movie that elicits applause from the audience as the end credits begin to roll? A movie you love so hard you just have to clap in thanks? As though it could hear you and blush in appreciation.
We Bought A Zoo was that movie for us over the holidays. Based on a true story, the film’s end credits rolled and the audience applauded. Good thing, because it gave me a second to wipe my eyes before our row began to empty. You never want to be the chick that cries at movies, right?
The reviews of the movie are tepid. Because reviewers hold director Cameron Crowe to a standard that Cameron Crowe shouldn’t be held to, frankly. The man makes heartwarming movies that make you want to cry and cheer. (I’m using the word “heartwarming” against my not-a-movie-critic better judgement of trite because I actually heard a woman behind us use that word as we were shuffling out of the theater. Her companion sniffled, I kid you not, and laughed self-consciously. Vetted.)
Jerry Maguire is one of mine and my husband’s favorite movies and, seriously, Almost Famous is quoted at least once a day in our house. I forget all the time that people don’t have that movie memorized and stop just short of telling people that “Your aura is purple! Purple!” I texted my husband “Don’t take drugs!” while he was with his friends at a Widespread Panic concert and I could feel him trying not to pee his pants from across town.
Cameron Crowe makes outstanding feel-good movies. They probably won’t win Oscars. I don’t care. More importantly, my kids don’t care. Most importantly, this movie wasn’t a cartoon or a caricature of itself.
We Bought A Zoo is the high note on which you are looking to end your holidays this year. It is the soaring confidence you are looking for as we enter the new year, eyeing our goals and wondering just how safe we should play it. Rarely do I fall so hard for a movie that I just have to tell you to go see it and I just have to tell you now.
Need more convincing? I could see it making my boys appreciate me more, as their mom. As in live-action watched it dawn on them. That’s why it was so important for Grey to tell me, before we even left the theater, just how much he saw me.
Yeah. Go see it.
What’s the best movie to take your family to as our holiday break comes to an end?
Ask me again.