CineMatters: Animal Lover Appreciates Life Full of Furry Friends

By on September 30, 2011

Your son is delighted to discover there’s a boy his age moving in next door. With great anticipation he watches the movers unload a shiny new bicycle, a battery-operated truck and a huge swing set, complete with fort and slide. But his smile fades when he turns his attention to his own toy collection: his well-worn bike, a box of miniature cars, a dusty tire swing.

Days later, the new boy shows up on your doorstep asking to play with your son. A little embarrassed, your son leads him into the backyard. His new friend’s eyes light up when he spots the tire swing. Soon, both boys are taking turns on it, flying high and squealing with excitement.

By Laura Gray

Your son gains a new perspective on his “old” toys with the help of his friend. He finds that it’s good to take a fresh look at what you love and learn to appreciate them more – a lesson that’s driven home for Griffin, the animal-loving caretaker in Zookeeper, available this month on Blu-ray and DVD from Sony Pictures. Enjoy the film with your family and then discuss it using our Talking Points.

In Zookeeper, Griffin enjoys a special bond with the animals in his care. He brings them treats, talks to them and works hard to coax a despondent gorilla to play. The zoo’s veterinarian admires his commitment and compassion. But Griffin is lonely and longs to win back his former girlfriend, Stephanie, who thinks his zoo job is beneath him.

In order to help their friend, the animals break their “code of silence” and speak to him directly. Their dating advice – which doesn’t always translate well from the animal kingdom to the human world – meets with mixed results. Eventually, Griffin gets his girl, but the cost is high. She insists that he leave his zookeeper job for a more “glamorous” position as a luxury car salesman.

Although he becomes wildly successful at work and in love, Griffin is miserable. He misses the animals and, especially, his gorilla friend, Bernie. And he discovers that he has genuine feelings for Kate, the zoo’s veterinarian. Before it’s too late, Griffin quits his sales job, returns to the zoo and intercepts Kate before she can leave for a job in Africa. He realizes that what he had was really what he wanted after all.


Griffin treats the zoo animals as if they are his friends even before he knows they can talk. How do they feel about him? Why do they hide their ability to talk from Griffin?

What do the animals think of Griffin’s plans to win back Stephanie? When they decide to break the “code” and offer advice, how does Griffin react? What are some of their suggestions? Which was your favorite? Not all of the advice we may get from friends is helpful. How do you decide whether or not to take someone’s advice?

What does Griffin do when he realizes he made a mistake by leaving the zoo? How do the animals react when he returns? In real life, how hard is it to admit that you were wrong? What do you do to make things right?

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