Magic. Again.

There’s this movie I can’t stop watching. I love it.

I’ve talked before about magic on this blog. If you haven’t seen “We Bought A Zoo”, you should. It’s a lovely story if you look past the obvious Hollywoodizing of the already bittersweet story of Benjamin Mee and his family. (And no, Hollywoodizing probably isn’t a real word, but you know what I mean by it, so it probably should be.)

Okay, put aside the fact that Matt Damon is cute and fun and perfect for the role. Don’t pay any attention to the adorable Maggie Elizabeth Jones who plays his seven-year-old daughter. Ignore the natural beauty that permeates the entire film and the comic relief of the zoo staff. What really made this movie magic? The love story.

I know you think I’m prejudiced, being a romance writer and all. I’m sort of addicted to the love stuff. But I know what I’m talking about here. This movie is magical because of the made up love story between Benjamin Mee played by Matt Damon and his zookeeper Kelly Foster played by Scarlett Johannson. Though not a central part of the storyline, the love story is sweet, sappy and totally magic.

How can I be sure? Well, after I saw the movie in the theater with my kids, I was in the little bathroom holding the stall door for my four-year-old daughter and a little old lady walked in, wiping her eyes. I smiled understandingly. I had just wiped my eyes, too.

She seized my arm. “Do you think he married her?” she said.

Startled, I shrugged. “I-I don’t know.” I didn’t want to tell her that I doubted Kelly Foster ever existed. In fact, I was pretty sure a large portion of the story had been altered (Hollywoodized) to play on our sympathies and desire for romance. It didn’t matter to me because it was a good story and that’s what I went to the movie for (well, that and the chance to look at Matt Damon).

She released my arm and turned away, obviously disgruntled with my lack of enthusiasm. “Well, I think he liked her.” To her, these characters were real. They’d taken on a life of their own, and she had no intention of researching Dartmoor Zoological Park to find out if the story told in the movie was true. For her, it was real, and that was better than true.