For all its beauty, themes of triumph and perseverance, my younger brother cannot see beyond the loss in this film; ‘it’s loss after loss after loss’. But that’s life; loss after loss after loss. Renewing viridity, with a yen for fomenting decay.
You can move through your suffering, not unchanged, but by becoming something new. For me that’s what this movie signifies. It is a story of hope for those who have been pushed beyond the borders of the comfortable life.
Benjamin loves his children, he cares for them, he supports them and invests everything he has in them, even after he loses his wife, and purchases this Zoo – along with all its motley characters. The bereavement, the anger, the rebellion his children experience are promising – like growing pangs, or loose teeth. He gave his kids the opportunity to rebel, to feel loved enough to know that you have something to push up against when it feels like everything in life is pushing up against you. In a loveless home there is no room for rebellion. And when loss is experienced in those homes, and apathy ensures rebellion goes unnoticed, anxiety, despair and helplessness reign.
All of the elements in this story my brother finds depressing I find beautiful. The Mee’s give me hope that one day I can find a home, and an oneiric life. With love, with commitment, and with aplomb, life continues on. There is no response to loss perfect enough to divide up time and space, providing passage for the past to you. But if we recollect ourselves, take stock of the elements that loss has changed, we can follow the nourishing vision of life-as-it’s-meant-to-be to effect.