Sunday, July 7, 2013

Movie Review: The Odd Life of Timothy Green

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Mix of laughs and tears that will uplift you
Cons: Predictable.  Might be too slow for kids
The Bottom Line
Mixing laughs and tears
And strong fantasy premise
For wonderful film

"Please Don't Ask About My Leaves.  But You Can Look at Them."

Somehow, I missed hearing about The Odd Life of Timothy Green until just a couple weeks ago.  When I started seeing previews, it intrigued me, and the fact that it starred Jennifer Garner sealed the deal.  I'm glad I hear about it because I enjoyed it.

After trying for years, Cindy and Jim Green (Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton) have finally gotten the news that they will never be able to have kids of their own.  Saddened beyond words, they try to move on with their lives, but Jim decides an exercise might help them.  They write down exactly what they would have wanted their child to be on slips of paper and then bury it in the backyard.

That night a storm hits and in the middle of the storm Timothy (CJ Adams) enters their lives.  Confused at first, they begin to put the pieces together when they see the leaves on his legs.  Are they ready to be parents?  And what secrets might Timothy be hiding?

I must admit I was a little worried about how this story might progress, and it quickly became clear early on where things were going.  In fact, if I had one criticism, it is that the movie is very predictable.

It also falls more on the drama side of the dramedy line it tries so hard to straddle.  I was wiping tears off and on over the course of the entire movie.  But that's not to say there were some laughs as well.  Many snuck up on me, and the way the actors played them was so perfect that you couldn't help but laugh.

Speaking of the actors, all of them were great.  While Timothy is in the title, the story is really about Cindy and Jim, and Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton were so great as the leads.  CJ Adams has the unenviable job of making a basically perfect child not sickening, and he pulls it off perfectly.  In fact, all three of them walked that fine balance just right, and in the end you wind up loving the characters.  The rest of the cast is just as good, further pulling you into the movie.

While this is a PG Disney film, I think it is aimed more at adults than kids.  The story is about the mistakes you make as a parent, the things you learn from your own parents and those around you and how all that influences you in your attempts at parenting.  While there is plenty of scenes that involve Timothy, I'm not sure that a child will sit through the entire movie.  I, on the other hand, really felt for the characters and began to get caught up in their lives.  There is also a sub-plot involving the local pencil factory that many kids won't appreciate as much as adults will.

Having said that, the movie is pretty clean.  A tiny bit of violence and a could of mild swear words are the main reasons the film gets its PG rating.

And I've got to mention the cinematography.  Set in the fall near a small town, there are lots of beautiful shots of nature and the outdoors, including lots of beautiful fall foliage.  I know it's not a reason to see a film, but it is a nice bonus.

Ultimately, this movie is about people who touches our lives and what we take from that.  It's very much a life affirming film that left me feeling content and very happy to have seen it.

So if you want a life affirming movie that will make you laugh and cry, The Odd Life of Timothy Green is for you.

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