As the summer movie season draws to a close, fans of big screen popcorn flicks begin to suffer withdrawals and finding a good film is not always the easiest thing from week to week. And while I do not believe that Peter Hedges, director and screenwriter of Disney's The Odd Life of Timothy Green, will tell anyone that his film is a cure for the post-summer film blues, his film is original, entertaining and certainly worth the price of admission.
The movie opens with Jim and Cindy Green played by Joel Edgerton (best known in the United States for playing the role of Owen Lars in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones) and Jennifer Garner being interviewed by social services as part of the process of adopting a child. When social services inquires about the missing responses in key portions of their application the couple recounts their unusual story and the odd life of their son: Timothy Green (CJ Adams).
The Green's launch into their story of how they were crushed to find out that they would be unable to conceive children of their own, how the pencil factory in their small town of Stanleyville is facing possible closure and how they are in the midst of a terrible drought in their community. Shocked and devastated by the news of being unable to conceive Cindy decides as an act of her will to move but Jim insists that for one more night they dream about what their child will be like. Over a bottle of wine the two draw, write and dream about their unborn child that is never to be. A child that has an artistic talent like Picasso, a child that has his mother's heart and his uncle's sense of humor, a child that scores the winning soccer goal in a championship game. Once they are finished the Green's gather their drawings and writings, place them in a box and bury them in Cindy's garden; their night of grieving over, they are prepared to move on.
That evening a storm brings rain to the drought-stricken community, the likes of which have not been seen in months. However, the rain is limited to the Green home and with the rain comes Timothy, a ten-year old boy with leaves attached to his ankles. Jim and Cindy invite him into their home and realize that Timothy is meant for them. Overjoyed the Green's go to hilarious lengths to have Timothy be the kid they dreamt of together. They explain to the social worker that they did not expect Timothy to be perfect but they wanted his childhood to be perfect.
After being unable to remove Timothy's leaves, Cindy insists that he wear socks because people would make fun of him. Throughout the movie the leaves fall off one at a time as Timothy imparts a piece of himself to those around him.
The movie draws its strength from the three main characters: Cindy, Jim and Timothy, who are superbly written. CJ Adams as the title character is particularly impressive. For a child actor, his facial expressions and timing are amazing and his portrayal of Timothy's quiet innocence is endearing. Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton have a wonderful chemistry together and you cannot help but root for their characters as they make what seems like a never-ending list of mistakes in raising Timothy.
For all the strength that the main characters show, the supporting cast is written superficially and could have used more depth. Dianne Wiest has a largely forgettable cameo as Cindy Green's boss. Wiest, a formidable actress, was largely underutilized in what could have been a wonderful supporting role.
Despite some shortcomings Disney's The Odd Life of Timothy Green will have you cheering, crying and laughing and re-discovering the oddness inside each of us. The movie is rated PG for mild thematic elements and brief language.