The Odd Life of Timothy Green Gives Me the Warm and Fuzzies.
The Odd Life of Timothy Green starring Jennifer Garner, CJ Adams, and Joel Edgerton comes out today and when I think about the movie, one word comes to mind: sweet.
Actually no, it’s “Disney sweet.”
(So two words.)
Written and Directed by Acadamy Award nominee Peter Hedges (“What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?” “Dan in Real Life”), The Odd Life of Timothy Green brings small town life to the big screen.
Cindy Green (Jennifer Garner) and her husband Jim (Joel Edgerton ) live in Stanleyville, which is really “Anytown,” USA, with a pencil factory at the heart of it and on the brink of closing. They’re trying to start a family and after being delivered some devastating news that they can’t conceive, the couple head home, knock off a couple bottles of wine and start talking about all the qualities a child of theirs would have. This scene is honestly just heartbreaking for any woman who has ever considered having a family not to mention if there was every any difficulty involved in trying, especially as you see the process unfold of sheer devastation to dealing with grief to trying to laugh at it (a little) and then the calm that is the reality. And the brokenness.
They continue to write down all these qualities of their would-be child and put them in a box and bury them in the backyard. When lo and behold! A few hours later, the ground opens up and an actual 10-year-old child (Timothy Green) magically sprouts forth from the earth, bearing all the qualities written down on those little pieces of paper that they buried, with one added extra: little tiny leaves on his legs.
We don’t figure out what the leaves are for until somewhere near the end (I won’t spoil it for you), but throughout the movie, Timothy moves along from one person to another, virtually holding up a mirror for them and showing them, sweetly and honestly (sometimes hilariously) their flaws and allowing Cindy and Jim Green to grown and blossom as parents, no matter how fleeting.
I think what I loved most about this movie is the underlying theme of perfect parenting. As in, there is no such thing as perfect parenting. Because once you finish making a whole slew of mistakes, you just move onto other, different ones. That’s both the heartache and the joy of it and it’s what Jim and Cindy begin to understand themselves.
Before you become a parent, you vow not to be like any other parent (sometimes even your own) and you also vow not to possess the qualities you don’t like about other parents (bragging, overachieving, overbearing, absentee) then of course when you yourself become the parent, you find becoming all those things you said you wouldn’t and saying things you yourself would never have imagined (and cringing as you say it!)
And then there’s the proving, the feeling that you have as a first-time parent of always needing to prove that you’re a good parent while in the meantime projecting all of your insecurities… (Oh yes I’ve been there, thankfully most of us get over this as we become comfortable in our own parenting skin.)
Timothy though (adorably and innocently played by CJ Adams), has this special way of making people feel alive, making them appreciate each other, and helping them to take their own walls down, even as he himself makes mistakes. Jennifer Garner was charming, beautiful (as always) and funny and Joel Edgerton who played her husband was the perfect counterpart.
There were messages about parenting, adoption, and infertility that went straight over my kids’ heads (they are 4 & 6), but by the end, my six-year-old felt like he was best friends with Timothy and really enjoyed the movie. It didn’t hold my four year old’s attention to the very end (he was falling asleep), but then again it was almost 9 o’clock at night and his bedtime is 7:30.
The homegrown, organic, rich, earthy feel of the movie is fostered by the sometimes Celtic-sounding, sometimes folk-ish, but definitely thought-provoking music (written by Geoff Zanelli) and the setting: the deep colors of the leaves, and the fall sweaters made me miss seasons. It reminded me of Vermont (though it was shot in Georgia), but it all just worked together beautifully.
Overall, the movie touched me deeply. It made me feel hope, it made me feel peace (especially in the place we are in ourselves and considering adoption).
I truly love how movies can sometimes step in at the right time and do that.
The Odd Life of Timothy Green hits theaters today (August 15th). It’s rated PG. Go see it.
Make sure you check out my CJ Adams interview, the boy who plays Timothy took a break to chat with us bloggers last week!
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