The Odd Life of Timothy Green isn’t what you would call a theatrical masterpiece, but the story is both heartfelt and sincere, in a way that pokes and prods at your unsuspecting tear glands and makes you gush and blubber like a total loser while the person next to you shifts uncomfortably in their seat – presumably so you don’t snot on them or something of that sort.
Since this movie relies a bit on the element of surprise, this will be a short review. First off, the whole “that could never happen” attitude won’t work for this movie. It’s unusual and fantastical, and that’s what makes this movie so good – so deal with it. Secondly, don’t discount this movie as something that’s “just for the kids” – in fact, it’s probably more of an adult-movie than a kids movie, to be perfectly honest.
Cindy and Jim Green are anxious to start a family, but after years of trying and thousands of dollars of tests, trials, and treatment later, they have come to the hard realization that a baby is not in their future. So, in an effort to move on and make the emotional distress less impactful on their day-to-day lives, they decide to write down everything that their child would have been, and plant it in a wooden box in their garden. What they never suspected is that a child would seemingly appear out of thin air, and it would appear that he is not your typical child, seeing as he is growing leaves out of his legs, six to be exact. Oh, and his name is Timothy.
Cindy (Jennifer Garner) and Jim (Joel Edgerton) approach parenting headfirst; they dive in and immediately become the protectors, the mother-hen type, clingy parents. Their trial and error is not only amusing, but I would imagine a very realistic view of how new parents feel; their uncertainty and confusion lead to many mistakes, but these mistakes all serve a purpose in the end.
Unfortunately, to preserve the best parts of the movie, I have to be a bit more secretive in my plot coverage than I typically like to be. Still, I will share a few other tidbits I thoroughly enjoyed in this movie.
The message of this movie was one of the best things about it, and it not only is a great message for parents, but also for kids who are old enough to appreciate it. This message revolves around the fact that parents aren’t perfect, they make mistakes, but it is those mistakes and trial and error that make not only the parents, but the entire family better. It is the power of the family as a unit that brings good to not only each other, but to others as well.
The casting in this movie was superb. CJ Adams as Timothy was not only a great fit for the role, but he also looked as though he could have truly been the son of Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton. I had worried that he might be a bit too precocious for the character, but he played the role with a resounding maturity. Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton had truly ideal chemistry; their connection felt natural, and their emotions balance well with each other.
The trio thrived by the addition of a well-rounded supporting cast. Rosemarie DeWitt plays Cindy’s somewhat stuck-up “perfect parent” sister, Brenda Best. Cindy’s comical Uncle Bub is played by M. Emmet Walsh. Additional cast members include Dianne Wiest as Cindy’s gruff boss, and Common is featured as the town’s soccer coach. Another standout performance was given by Odeya Rush, who plays Joni, a young girl with whom Timothy seems to have a love interest.
Overall, this movie was an unexpected treat, and treated the subjects of parenthood with real sincerity and clarity. The characters were relatable and fun, and brought a resounding lightness to a somewhat darker topic. I think that while this movie is rated PG, and seems like more of a kid’s movie, it’s not something that the kids are going to necessarily love. This movie is much more a lighthearted family comedy that addresses real-life issues in a way that adults will enjoy more than the younger crowd. Definitely bring a tissue or two, because they will come in handy.
The Odd Life of Timothy Green – 7/10