The Odd Life of Timothy Green

By Kathryn Schroeder
Released: August 15, 2012
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Academy Award-nominated writer/director Peter Hedges (Dan in Real Life, What's Eating Gilbert Grape?) brings enchantment to the screen with "The Odd Life of Timothy Green," an inspiring, magical story about a happily married couple, Cindy and Jim Green (Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton), who can't wait to start a family but can only dream about what their child would be like. When young Timothy (CJ Adams) shows up on their doorstep one stormy night, Cindy and Jim-and their small town of Stanleyville-learn that sometimes the unexpected can bring some of life's greatest gifts.
Film Review
The majority of family-oriented films released in theatres today are animated. The subject matter may appeal to both children and adults making them entertaining for the entire family; the jokes are more often than not full of connotations so only adults would grasp the intended humor. A live-action family film is hard to come by, and even more difficult is one that is incredibly good-natured, wholesome, and heartwarming. The Odd Life of Timothy Green has all of the aforementioned; it is a quality family film that has the inert ability to make a viewer feel exponentially good.

The Odd Life of Timothy Green begins at the end of the story with Cindy (Jennifer Garner) and Jim Green (Joel Edgerton) applying to adopt a child. The experience they possess that makes them eligible to be parents is summed up in one word: Timothy. In order to prove their worth, so to speak, they tell the story of how Timothy came into their lives and changed them forever. Flashback to the near-past we meet Cindy and Jim at one of the worst moments in their lives, having just been told that after two difficult years trying to conceive a child they have exhausted every medical option. The depression seeps in for them both, the inability to let go of the desire, the dream, the longing to have a child of their own. In one swift decision by Jim, he and Cindy decide to spend the night imagining just what their child would have been like. The qualities he/she would have, the obstacles he/she would face, and the overall nature of their child. On small slips of paper they write each item down, from the ability to "love and be loved" to "scoring the final goal of a game." Tucking all of their dreams for their child away in a keepsake box they bury it in the backyard, and decide to move on with the next chapter of their lives.

In pure fantastical fashion a storm moves in on the Green home; wind, rain, thunder and lightning abound. The garden becomes a place for magical wonderment to develop, as Timothy is born. The shock of meeting Timothy (CJ Adams), covered in mud, late at night in their home is unsettling for Jim and Cindy. The greatest shock soon comes when they discover Timothy is not your normal boy because he has leaves around his lower legs and ankles, and is ten-years old. Timothy is part of nature, sent to Jim and Cindy as an offering to help them discover the joys and pitfalls of parenting. The Odd Life of Timothy Green takes the viewer on their respective journeys, and along with Timothy as he develops and grows in their small community of Stanleyville, the pencil capitol of the world.

Timothy's journey is not his own though, as he directly represents the features Jim and Cindy had wished for in a child. He leads everyone in the story on their respective paths. For Jim and Cindy he helps them accomplish the goal of saving the town's pencil factory, and the townspeople's jobs in the process. He also helps them overcome obstacles they have with their family's, a sister and father to be exact. Most importantly, Timothy teaches Jim and Cindy about parenting and unrequited love; while masterfully having them doubt every choice or decision they make. "Have the day you have," becomes a much better, and lower pressure, farewell greeting than "have a great day" when sending Timothy off to school. All the while Timothy stands for accepting people as they are by befriending a girl at school, Joni (Odeya Rush), who is also different just as he is with his leaves. Timothy and Joni's bond is sweet and full of love, two kids discovering what it is like to have a true and honest friend. The symbolic creation of their friendship in the outlining town forest is full of wonderment and creativity. A melding of human craftsmanship and nature--a direct representation of Timothy's creation and connection to the earth.

The Odd Life of Timothy Green is a movie basking in positivity, happiness, and an abundance of love. The bond Timothy builds with Jim and Cindy warms the heart. The beautiful, full of thoughtfulness and caring eyes of Timothy's CJ Adams instantly captivate a viewer. The Odd Life of Timothy Green is a family film, combining all of the great qualities you expect. It has the sentiment, the honesty, the laughter, and an ending that will bring tears of sadness and joy to your eyes. Emotional connections abound in The Odd Life of Timothy Green and they are sure to resonate onto the viewer leaving a lasting impression.

Children and Family, Drama, Comedy, Fantasy
Release Date
August 15, 2012
MPAA Rating
Ahmet Zappa
Production Designer
Music Score