The Odd Life Of Timothy Green

The Odd Life Of Timothy Green


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Harking back to the sort of Disney movies that peppered children's holiday television in the Seventies, The Odd Life Of Timothy Green employs the tried and tested formula of a magical being entering the lives of people who need their help, acting as a catalyst for change and then disappearing.

While it's not in the same league as the likes of Mary Poppins, it's a solid example of its type that's likely to please younger audiences who will find the simple, fairy story style arc comfortingly familiar and the central protagonist quirkily relatable.

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Jim and Cindy Green (Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton) are that breed of wholesome couple who only seem to exist in Disney movies. Safe, warm and loving, the only cloud in their lives is the lack of a child. After a heart to heart over a bottle of wine, they decide the time has come for them to move on, so to help them grieve the baby that will never be, they write down all the things they would have wished him to become, seal them in a box and bury it in the garden. Somehow Peter Hedges (whose eclectic screenplay output also includes What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Pieces Of April and Dan In Real Life) manages to make this both plausible and touching, which is no mean feat.

That night, a storm brews and Timothy (CJ Adams) appears - a bright and bouncy little boy, perfect in every way except for the fact he is covered in mud and has leaves sprouting from his legs. The Greens seize the opportunity to be parents, with Timothy more than willing to play along and he is soon trying to ingratiate himself with the local community, who because this is a fairy tale, accept his presence with no questions asked.

The neighbourhood is, of course, filled with the sort of people who need to 'change' - including Jim's opportunistic boss (Ron Livingston), Cindy's sourpuss employer (Dianne Wiest) and Cindy's pushy parent sister (Rosemarie DeWitt) - and Timothy's just the boy for the job even if each act of redemption costs him one of his precious leaves. What marks the film out a little from the norm is a relationship that develops between Timothy and local loner Joni (Odeya Rush), which helps to give him more depth as a character in his own right rather than simply being a plot mechanic.

Garner, with her wide smile and eternal perkiness, could have been created for Disney movies and Edgerton brings a pleasing gruffness to the role of Jim but its Adams that children are likely to be seeing the most of in the coming years, as his angelic looks and decent acting chops will doubtless bring him more similar roles if he wants them.

This being the wonderful world of Disney, of course, means that the sentiment comes candy coated but like other films from the House of Mouse lately - particularly Frankenweenie - there's a sense of a slightly darker, more challenging movie trying to break through the whimsy.

Reviewed on: 04 Apr 2013
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A magical little boy changes the lives of a childless couple and the community they live in.
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Director: Peter Hedges

Writer: Peter Hedges, based on the story by Ahmet Zappa

Starring: Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton, CJ Adams, Odeya Rush, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Rosemarie DeWitt, David Morse, M. Emmet Walsh, Lois Smith, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Dianne Wiest, Ron Livingston, James Rebhorn, Common, Michael Arden

Year: 2012

Runtime: 105 minutes

BBFC: U - Universal

Country: US


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