Tuesday, August 14

The Odd Life Of Timothy Green Review

The Odd Life of Timothy Green
Dir: Peter Hedges
Starring: Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton,
and CJ Adams

There is a moment in The Odd Life Of Timothy Green when a young couple, Cindy (Jennifer Garner) and Jim (Joel Edgerton), are told they will not be able to have children of their own. Devastated, Cindy mourns the loss, crying in their finished nursery, while Jim waits outside the room unsure of how to help; it’s heartbreaking. Tackling the topic of infertility is difficult because it’s a situation that is especially unique to the individual. This aspect offers challenges when making a family film with a topic so personal, and unfortunately it shows in this film. However, The Odd Life of Timothy Green still offers an endearing and heartwarming message of hope.

 The film begins with Jim and Cindy pleading their case in an adoption interview. When asked by the interviewer what will make them good parents their answer is simply “Timothy”.  The story of how Timothy (CJ Adams) came into the couple’s lives begins with the diagnosis of their infertility. In an attempt to make the first steps of coping, Cindy and Jim write every attribute they wish their child would have on pieces of paper and bury them in the garden. During the night, after a peculiar downpour, Jim and Cindy are awoken by footsteps thumping through the house. They discover a young boy, covered in mud, with leaves sprouting from his legs; he tells the Green’s his name is Timothy.

Jim and Cindy are excited, yet reluctant, for the opportunity. They decide to introduce Timothy as their child at a family reunion happening the next morning. Timothy is charismatic and friendly, and though some of the family members are wary at first, they soon accept him. Timothy seems to influence everyone that he encounters in a personal way; whether it’s making his Uncle Bob (M. Emmett Walsh) laugh or making Cindy’s grumpy supervisor (Dianne Weist) feel special, Timothy has a magnetic personality.

The ensemble cast is good and provide a list of notable and familiar faces, however there is a couple that feel out of place. Jennifer Garner has played the overbearing, protective mother before but she is good at it. Joel Edgerton transitions from the battered, tough guy and gives a suitable turn as the father figure. As parents, Garner and Edgerton do a pleasant job of possessing the naïve, and sometimes over zealous, aspects of new parents. CJ Adams is the glue that holds the film together as Timothy; his charming and innocent demeanor offers his character sensitivity and appeal.

 Although the film is marketed for families, there are some underlying themes that younger children might miss. The storytelling is both whimsical and realistic, although unevenly too realistic, which drains some of the magic found in the character of Timothy. The film also gets confounded with what aspect to focus on, moral or magic, when it should utilize both and this unfortunately hurts the overall tone of the film.

The subject of infertility could present some conflicting perspectives for those who are currently, or have, struggled with it; however I do commend the film for confronting the subject. Though the film does display some flaws with how and when to utilize plot devices, director Peter Hedges has composed a film of sensible emotion wrapped in a fanciful story. The message behind The Odd Life of Timothy Green is important; it’s one of hope in the face of loss.

Monte’s Rating
3.25 out of 5.00

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