Scarlett Gives a Damn
“I don’t have a Facebook or a Twitter account, and I don’t know how I feel about this idea of, “Now, I’m eating dinner, and I want everyone to know that I’m having dinner at this time.” or “I just mailed a letter and dropped off my kids.” That, to me, is a very strange phenomenon. I can’t think of anything I’d rather do less than have to continuously share details of my everyday life. I’m always surprised that certain actors have Twitter accounts. I guess they use it in a way that works for them. But I’d rather that people had less access to my personal life. If I could keep it that way, I’d be a happy lady.”
Scarlett Johansson’s new film, We Bought a Zoo, is based on the true story of Benjamin Mee, a British journalist who moves with his family into a house on a piece of property that contains a private zoo that has fallen into disrepair. Following the untimely death of his wife, Mee decides to focus his energies on refurbishing the zoo and making a new home not only for the animals that live there, but for his grieving family as well.
In the film, directed by Cameron Crowe, the locale is reset in Southern California, with Matt Damon playing the Mee role, and Johansson as the zookeeper who helps him with the project. All told, We Bought a Zoo is a heartwarming movie that brings to light the resilience of the human spirit, the kinship that can exist between people and animals, and numerous other wholly life-affirming ideas. But for those very same reasons, the film stands out in the Johansson oeuvre, which by and large is comprised of more fraught, conflicted material like Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation (2003), or Woody Allen’s Match Point (2005) and Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008), in which the philosophical takeaway is more ambiguous and bad things occasionally beget worse things as the characters struggle bitterly (and often unsuccessfully) to come to terms with parts of their lives that don’t quite square up to their own expectations. So We Bought a Zoo is a different kind of movie for Johansson, and it arrives at what has turned out to be a very different kind of time for her, too.