The Odd Life of Timothy Green.
The trailers for this movie would lead you to believe that it’s a children’s movie. Well, if you’ve managed to catch the news stories on how traumatic this movie is for children, you’ll likely be confused. This is not a children’s movie. While the star is a young boy, this is a story about parenting and loss and love.
The basic gist is that couple Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton can’t have a baby naturally, so in an attempt to “get over” this fact, they decide to drink some wine and create their perfect child by writing down adjectives and putting into a box. They then bury the box in the backyard, only to wake up the next morning with a child covered in mud rummaging around their home. Timothy seems like the perfect child and changes the lives of everyone in this small town.
Newcomer CJ Adams (well, aside from being in the background of Dan in Real Life) steals the show as Timothy Green. He is one of the most likeable little kids I’ve ever seen in a movie. Usually the movie jams it down your throat with moments of look isn’t this kid adorable? In The Odd Life of Timothy Green, CJ Adams naturally just warms your heart. I’m not a kid person… so for me to say this, it must be substantial. You get attached to him but the movie sets the tone from the very beginning that things may not end up as we’d hope.
As the hopeful parents, Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton are nearly perfect. As the movie begins and they’re unable to have a child, it is absolutely heartbreaking. I wasn’t sure about Edgerton but the first few minutes of the film sold me on him. The supporting cast was also pretty incredible as well, from Dianne Wiest’s resident cranky old woman to Ron Livingston’s sad portrayal of a floundering pencil mill manager.
What doesn’t work?
The framing of the film begins at the end of the story, so some of the punch is lessened because you know (to a certain extent) how things might end. In some ways, this movie reminded me of Bridge to Terabithia, which I’m a huge fan of. However, that movie’s big reveal was a punch in the gut because it was completely unexpected. I think the choice to frame this movie in this manner might have ruined an opportunity.
I really enjoyed The Odd Life of Timothy Green, once I got past the fact that while it’s a movie about children, it’s not a movie for children necessarily. I found the story of Garner and Edgerton’s characters relatable and while I cried like a baby at the end, it was extremely cathartic. I didn’t expect to leave the theater thinking it, but I definitely recommend this film for those of you looking for a heartwarming tale that will definitely tug at your heartstrings.