In Home Viewings: The Odd Life of Timothy Green

Synopsis: After being told that they will never be able to conceive, Jim (Joel Edgerton) and Cindy Green (Jennifer Garner) return home with heavy hearts. To deal with their grief, the couple starts describing their perfect child and dotting down their hopes on post-it notes which they ultimately collect and bury in their garden. During the night, a freak storm rolls by their house and the Greens awake to find a 10 year old boy named Timothy (CJ Adams) in their home. After the initial shock wears of, Jim and Cindy begin to realize that Timothy is the embodiment of their hoped-for child and come to understand that his purpose is much greater than it initially seemed. What I Liked: I initially stayed away from The Odd Life of Timothy Green because, with my wife and I having gone through a miscarriage earlier in the year, the material hit too close to home. When I finally got around to checking it out, I was impressed by the direct but sympathetic tone the film took in regards to the struggles of the parents. It isn’t overdone nor does force feed fake emotions to the viewer and instead these issues are presented in an honest, natural way from the beginning and that carries over through the rest of the film. As such, Edgerton (of whom I am quite fond) and Garner bring their characters to life with strong subtlety, striking the right balance of hurt, wonder, and determination to make their family work. While both provide solid performances, I felt Edgerton’s was the driving force of the film, though my bias toward him as an actor may have swayed that opinion. Adams, too, gives a strong portrayal and handles the somewhat difficult material with skill beyond his years. The narrative of Timothy Green is generally sweet and appropriate for the overarching story.

What I Didn’t Like: While not the main focus of the film, one of the secondary subjects of Timothy Green is the way in which Timothy affects the lives of those around him. That’s all well and good but in the process of painting the picture of what kind of help the supporting characters are in need of, the film grinds to an absolute halt. Virtually every character outside of the three leads is a one-dimensional, borderline unbearable caricature of a given trope that needs to change. The overbearing, often absent father/grandfather (David Morse); the obnoxious aunt (Rosemarie Dewitt) who brings everyone around her down in order to build her kids up; the lazy boss (Ron Livingston) who tries to steal ideas from the Green family. It’s nice that Timothy tries to help those around him but all of these supporting characters are insufferable from the very beginning to the point that you honestly don’t want to see them improve as people. If Timothy could have helped his parents realize that everyone around them is a miserable jackwagon and that they should move to another state and never look back, I would have enjoyed Timothy Green far more.

Verdict: It’s not flawless and there is a certain oddness to the story as a whole that might turn off some viewers. But overall (and in spite of the BRUTAL supporting characters), I found The Odd Life of Timothy Green to be a touching family film that is worth your time.

The Odd Life of Timothy Green Director: Peter Hedges Cast: Joel Edgerton, Jennifer Garner, CJ Adams Rated: PG (mildly adult themes, possibly a little language) Recommended For: Families with kids 6+