I know what you are thinking. It’s a Disney film that is rated PG. It screams family friendly. I agree. I saw the trailers for The Odd Life of Timothy Green which are very well done, and had a glimmer of hope but not much else that this could be a great film.
At the end of my screening for The Odd Life of Timothy Green, I had a few tears rolling down my cheeks and that glimmer of hope was right. This film has something for everyone, and that is rare in a film besides perhaps the nature docs or great animated films.
The film revolves around Jim and Cindy Green (played by Joel Edgerton and Jennifer Garner) who have tried desperately to have a child of their own, but it has simply come to the sad ending that it will not happen. To close the book on the subject, Jim starts to write down on pieces of paper what their child would be like. Though sad at first, Cindy joins Jim in writing down what their dream child would be able to do and accomplish. The pieces of paper are put in a wooden box and buried in the vegetable garden, both literally and figuratively burying the subject forever. It is time to move on.
But something strange happens in the night. A hard rain targeted just onto the Green’s property falls and a mysterious intruder comes into the house. After some chasing and hiding, the Greens meet Timothy who literally sprouted from the ground where the dream child box was buried. He has some unique characteristics, namely the leaves that are attached to his lower legs, but this kid is definitely the offspring of those hopes and dreams.
While Timothy entering the Greens’ life brings with it questions from family and friends. He is explained to an adopted child. The film could only focus on the Greens, but instead has a larger picture. He has a positive effect on everyone he meets, even the misunderstood ones. Timothy is just a happy kid, accepting of how he is different from everyone else and simply unaffected by their hurtful ways and misunderstandings.
The first thing that struck me as odd is when the name Ahmet Zappa showed up in the opening credits. The film is based on a story of his and he also produced it. The name Zappa feels a little out of place for a film like this, but his involvement possibly kept the cheese factor to a minimum.
The cast is a pretty good size and has a wide range of acting experience. If you put Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton, Dianne Weist, Lois Smith, Ron Livingston, Common, and two relatively inexperienced child actors together, the ensemble must work. It does for The Odd Life of Timothy Green. Odeya Rush plays Timothy’s friend, Joni, and she is mesmerizing both because of her beauty and the mystery of her character. CJ Adams plays Timothy with wide-eyed curiosity along with the determination and certainty of his purpose that is needed for the role. Jennifer Garner has just enough sweetness and sadness to make Cindy believable and not too sappy.
The balance between comedy and drama in the film are just right. It is not preachy, but it does have some lessons mixed in the film. “Don’t judge a book by its cover” and “It’s okay to be different” are a couple. There is one reason that Timothy came into the Greens’ life, and while it is hinted at the beginning of the film, it comes full circle in the end.
I have to hand it to Disney, the cast, and crew of The Odd Life of Timothy Green. They accomplished a well-rounded film that has something for all ages, guys, and girls. If the trailers peaked your interest at all, I would suggest that you buy a ticket and see it. I would have never expected to like it as much as I did, but my rating speaks for itself.
I give The Odd Life of Timothy Green 4 “snazzy athletic socks” out of 5.
by Sarah Ksiazek