Common Sense Media says

Family film tackles grief with humor and deep empathy.

Users say

(out of 192 reviews)
age 11+
Review this title!
Adult Written byjoshua martinez May 13, 2012

12 and up.

this drama movie We Bought a Zoo is a great powerful emotional movie stars with Matt Damon and all though the movie is PG rated but the movie does have some themes that no young kids should handle such as death and loss only teens 12 and up can handle this type of theme and parents there's only a few things that you need to worry about in this movie the movie has some mild language used for a PG movie and some social drinking used this movie has a great message about that Mee and his team at the zoo all work together for a common good. Open communication, empathy, and effort make the new venture work and help heal the family and the role models are great Mee is genuinely interested in giving his kids a new adventure so that they, and he, can find joy again after his wife's death. He makes mistakes, but through it all, he keeps the lines of communication open with his kids, especially his 14-year-old, who starts out as rebellious and surly Even Mee's brother, who doesn't always see things his way, winds up supportive. Kelly is a strong woman who's confident about her zookeeping skills and has genuine affinity for the animals.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent Written byprized possessions February 18, 2012

Too bad

My mom brought my 10 year old son to see this and the language was over the top for a PG movie. Thank god my two younger daughters did not go. Seeing that this movie is suppose to be for kids, why question if the Easter Bunny is real. Shouldn't we try to keep our kids young at heart for as long as we can.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Parent of a 10 year old Written bySongbird21 February 17, 2012

Watch out for PG-13 swearing

It was a fun movie. That said I was shocked to hear the S-word in it not once, not twice, but *four* times! The also had a 7 year old girl say d**k. Very inappropriate for my 10 year old daughter. If your kids are 13 and up you should see this movie otherwise I would wait a few years. How this got a PG rating is BEYOND me. Last I checked, a PG rating didn't include any of the heavy 7 (The big swears not allowed on network TV). The acting is good and the story is heartwarming. The kids are adorable. There is a girl at the zoo who is a love interest for the owner's son but she really isn't much more than that. She barely says anything worthwhile and then suddenly the boy is falling in love? Not very believable. There is a woman at the zoo who becomes a love interest for the owner. While she is a decent character, there was nothing in the story that made me think "These two *have* to get together". The romance was forced and fell flat.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing
Parent Written bydr4321 December 27, 2011

Cute story....Bad language!!!

This movie could have been so cute, however, with the bad language should have been PG-13 easily.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Parent of a 1, 10, 10, 14, and 15 year old Written bycharmsmatuts December 23, 2011

Disappointed

This should be PG-13! Not even close to a good movie. Not letting my kids watch this! Huge waste of time! Language I never let my kids use except my two teenagers! Sorry guys but this movie sucks! I'd recommend The Adventures of Tin Tin!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 15 years old Written byIronMan_Is_Life September 24, 2016

well, I liked it.

The first time I saw this movie was when I was in 6th grade. I saw it at school with my LA class, and I guess my teacher had never seen it either. we were all surprised at the swearing, but we were in middle school. other then that though, it was a really good movie that, at some parts, does make you tear up. I really liked this movie and it was a great watch!
Teen, 13 years old Written byowleyes1316 September 1, 2016

Language and disturbing images

Some of the milder cuss words are used, but they are used sparingly enough that it is easy for kids to overlook. I watched this movie in theaters when I was 8, and even though my mom insisted that I shouldn't have seen it, I didn't learn any cuss words from it or notice that they were even there. Another thing to note is that there are creepy drawings of skulls and things like that. The movie itself isn't very good anyway, so if you really can't decide if it's appropriate or not, just save yourself some trouble and skip it entirely.
Parent Written bymattbruns3 August 9, 2016

Very surprising that this did not get PG-13.

This movie has the word d*ck which is strong language. More for older kids and teens.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Teen, 15 years old Written bybatman12 July 20, 2016

very good family film

i saw this when it came out (i was 11) and really liked it.very good messages.a little bit of swearing though(about 6 or 7 uses of damn and about 5 shits) but overall a very good movie for the whole family.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing
Teen, 14 years old Written byBuffy Rules January 20, 2016

Review #2 - An insightful look into grief and loss that just happens to contain a tiny bit of language. Please, calm down.

Studio: 20th Century Fox | Rating: PG The 2010s are a mixed decade for movies. It seems as if we may run out of ideas, proven by the countless sequels and remakes. (You haven't seen worst sequel until you've seen Grease 2 --- which is so bad its almost good.) And Cameron Crowe, myself having never seen one of his movies before, saw this for the first time and found something refreshing --- something that deals with a sensitive topic such as grief and loss and yet manages to be fully appealing in this world of remakes and sequels. Cameron Crowe, *not* Russell Crowe. So Cameron and 20th Century Fox have created a gripping 2 hour drama. First of all, I notice many parents complaining about the language. Now please let me give you context. Granted, the Easter Bunny spoiler probably could've been taken out, but note that Crowe and Fox *wanted* to get a PG-13, but regardless, I think that it would have been a lighter PG-13 in that case, so PG is appropriate. Even as it is PG, what about the issue of sitting through two hours with small children? But anyway, back on topic, just because they use "sh*t" like three times within the whole film doesn't been you should rate it unfairly. Correction: They use "bullsh*t" during an argument, making that four uses, but they are fully in context, not overused and if it were PG-13 you would say it's closer to PG anyway, even with the 7-year-old saying to the EPA officer "Everybody thinks you're a d*ck, sir": Now that was funny, please get a grip. They also use three uses of "h*ll". In Ant-Man, they didn't list language in the PG-13 and yet they called someone a "p*ssy" once (as in coward) so that implies that could pass for a PG. In Australia, both Ant-Man and this got a PG (average PG range-lower PG-13 equivalent). Well... -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- As for the thematic elements, they are somewhat intense, especially if you have experienced the feelings of grief and loss recently: Young children could possibly be scared by the zombie's head barely lingering on his neck in that drawing, and for added effect a small bit of blood spray, once for three seconds, but older kids, don't worry. But if anything, the film contains more talk than action, but in a way it's actually entertaining. There's one scene where they feed meat and some very mild accidents *but* no violence at all ever occurs. There is one lingering kiss between a couple, romantic and tasteful, and tranquilisers are used for one sequence. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------And finally, for the film itself. I liked it. I think that the actors here really seem to put effort into their roles: a side note, the real Benjamin Mee is bald, perhaps they just wanted Matt Damon with hair because the bald Matt Damon was reserved for Elysium (Elysium had a lot of potential --- see my review on that film or click my username); I find that overall, the language is perfectly used, some for comic relief, some for drama, but is so infrequent, I wouldn't be fussed. Maybe perhaps for very young children. And if your 8-year-old is mature, let them watch. On a sidenote: WHO CARES IF TARGET IS FEATURED? Focus on the story. And maybe, while you're at it, count the 20th Century Fox logo as consumerism. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Please watch, like, enjoy. Thankyou for reading.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Teen, 17 years old Written bySS1234 November 1, 2015

Pretty good movie

I saw this movie last night. I was so happy to see a PG film with this amount of language. It is unrealistic to have a movie with no language when tackling issues in the film. Parents should stop treating their kids like babies and realise that kids swear anyway and know this language. They are just words.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 15 years old Written bydkasal000 September 11, 2015

This in my family is a instant classic

I seen this movie in theaters when it came out I love this movie it has positive messages about family and raising kids and is very well acted and has comedic moments and deals with deep family issues I love this movie and my family as well and is considered in our house a classic and yes it does have occasional stronger language but I am pretty sure kids have heard it form there parents as well
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing
Teen, 13 years old Written byHannah.mccullar February 18, 2015

Really Good Movie!

I'm 13 and I think this is a really good movie. It has some language in it but not that much. it's a great movie to watch with your kids because it is based on a true story and it tells you not to be afraid and to chase your dreams. I say they should be at least 10 or 11 because of some bad words but other than that it's a very good movie.
What other families should know
Great messages
Kid, 11 years old January 6, 2015

Adult talk is the problem

The problem in this movie is not that the mom died it's the adult talk. Kelly the zoo keeper talks about her unexciting life that kids will find inappropriate. There is a kiss that kids shouldn't watch. There is a loud shout saying BULLSHIT. but this movie has a feel good vibe and is hilarious
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much sex
Parent Written bycourtneys.o December 14, 2014

Really great story made iffy for younger kids by Easter Bunny spoiler and strong language.

This is a great story. It is heart warming, really funny and also sad. Make sure you are ok with a direct Easter Bunny spoiler and the use of strong language between father and son. Also make sure your child can handle watching young children deal with the loss of their mother.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing
Kid, 9 years old December 7, 2014

GREAT!

SOME LANGUAGE BUT ITS GOOD
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 16 years old Written byNick091398 December 2, 2014

Think About It...

Language: Strong for a PG movie, language is at a PG-13 level. During an argument with his son, the father notes "we have a 7 year old who still believes in the Easter Bunny!" Final Thoughts: Know your child. There are several "swear words" that may not be appropriate for your child to hear. Also the sub plot in the movie is about the sudden death of a family member (mother) and there are some very tense moments and arguments. All of it comes together to form a happy ending, but there are some "bumps on the road" to get there.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much swearing
Teen, 15 years old Written byRadelite October 24, 2014

My favorite movie ever.

This movie touches me to the heart every time I watch it to the point where I have cried and I am not the type of person to cry much. There is just something about it that makes me watch it over and over again, might be because I had to move from a place I lived most of my life in and I see the older brother as sorta as me. Parents this is a great movie for the family if you don't mind a lot of swearing....
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing
Kid, 11 years old March 5, 2014

Great movie

This movie was great and sad. It had an amazing plot and is a true story. It is good for age 11 up
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 10 years old January 20, 2014

we bought a zoo

I think you should be very careful about who you show this to how ever I was seven when I saw it and I was perfectly fine I guess it just depends on maturity.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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