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Movie Review: The Odd Life of Timothy Green

August 15, 2012

The Odd Life of Timothy Green – A Walt Disney Pictures’ Release

http://www.Disney.com/OddLife

Release Date: August 15th, 2012

Rated G

Running time: 104 minutes

Peter Hedges (dir.)

Peter Hedges (screenplay)

Ahmet Zappa (story)

Geoff Zanelli (music)

Jennifer Garner as Cindy Green

Joel Edgerton as Jim Green

CJ Adams as Timothy Green

Odeya Rush as Joni Jerome

Rosemarie DeWitt as Brenda Best

David Morse as James Green, Sr.

M. Emmet Walsh as Uncle Bub

Lois Smith as Aunt Mel

Dianne Wiest as Ms. Bernice Crudstaff

Common as Coach Cal

©Walt Disney Pictures.  All Rights Reserved.

Cindy (Jennifer Garner), Timothy (CJ Adams) and Jim (Joel Edgerton) in The Odd Life of Timothy Green.

Our reviews below:

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The Odd Life of Timothy Green Review By John C.

*** (out of 4)

Audiences who see and enjoy Disney’s The Odd Life of Timothy Green might end up feeling a wistful burst of “they don’t make them like they used to” nostalgia.  Feeling very much in tune with the sort of classic live action films that the studio would have produced back in the day, it succeeds at delivering a sweet natured family movie with a magical premise and a heartwarming message.

When Jim (Joel Edgerton) and Cindy Green (Jennifer Garner) are told that they can’t conceive a child, they make a list of everything that they would want in a kid and bury it in the backyard.  After a sudden rainstorm, the young Timothy Green (CJ Adams) suddenly appears from the ground and the couple immediately invites him into their home.  But as much as Timothy changes their lives, he is bullied at school for being different and has to wear long socks to cover up the mysterious leaves growing out of his legs.  His only friend is the equally special Joni (Odeya Rush), a slightly older girl who has her own self esteem issues to work through.

The fact that the entire town doesn’t automatically accept the arrival of Timothy actually makes the film all the more touching and believable.  Although his parents love him unconditionally to the point where they don’t even question his existence, interactions with Cindy’s sister (Rosemarie DeWitt) and her three spoiled children are sometimes hilariously awkward.  But Timothy has the miraculous power to change everyone’s lives in sometimes small and entirely unexpected ways, including Cindy’s elderly Uncle Bub (M. Emmet Walsh).  The final few scenes are undeniably touching.

Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton are both touching and entirely relatable as the parents, and CJ Adams is completely likeable as the title character.  This is only the first leading role for the young actor, but he turns in a performance that is charming and emotional in equal measure.  The screenplay is just as much of a star player, sensitively bringing up themes of adoption and being different, in a way that can be enjoyed by those of all ages.  Written and directed by Peter Hedges, who also wrote the story behind the profoundly moving 1993 classic What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, there’s something instantly comforting about The Odd Life of Timothy Green.

Although some critics might have a hard time accepting the admirably unique premise of the film, it’s the moments when we see how the titular character has changed other people’s lives that elevate The Odd Life of Timothy Green to being something special.  With good performances and a heartwarming script, this is a touching family film that comes recommended to those of all ages.

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The Odd Life of Timothy Green Review by Erin V.  

*** (out of 4)

When Cindy (Jennifer Garner) and Jim Green (Joel Edgerton) get the news that they are unable to make kids together, they decide to adopt.  But, something extraordinary happens, when Timothy (CJ Adams) shows up in their garden one night.  This miracle changes not just their lives, but the whole town for the better.

All of the cast is good here, and Timothy is played very well by relative newcomer Adams, who works perfectly for the optimistic character, and plays well off of Garner and Edgerton.  The cinematography is very nice, and the art direction and costume design as well, which all matches the whole film which is very pretty to look at with its fall palette of leaves, in reds, greens, and browns.  I also liked the score by Geoff Zanelli, which fit the film nicely.

The Odd Life of Timothy Green is a really sweet film that harkens back to the old live-action Disney classics.  I really liked its nice message of accepting those who are different and celebrating what they can bring.  It is the perfect film for families (with kids around 8-10 & up) to go see to close out the summer.  It is not a typical comedy or fast-paced kiddie flick, instead a mature film for that age group – one that an 11 year old can see and feel like they are watching something both for them as well as for adults.

While it may seem too sweet (and maybe sappy to some), I really liked the change of pace and every now and then am happy to see this kind of film in theatres.  Sure action flicks, straight drama, and all out comedies have their place, but not always.  I just really liked this one.  Go see The Odd Life of Timothy Green and enjoy.

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The Odd Life of Timothy Green Review by Nicole

*** (out of 4)

For many years, parents have told fanciful tales of where children come from.  Jim (Joel Edgerton) and Cindy Green (Jennifer Garner) have tried for many years to have a child and failed.  They even make a wish list of what their perfect child would be like, and bury the list in a treasure box in their garden.  The next day, a very muddy boy named Timothy (CJ Adams) shows up in their house.  He is normal in every way, except for the fact that he sprouted from the garden and has leaves growing on his legs.  The Greens adopt Timothy, hiding his leaves to shield him from ridicule.  However, the fact that Timothy is adopted and acts different (Aspergers perhaps?) makes him a bullying target.  But one child, a girl named Joni (Odeya Rush) whom Timothy fancies, is his best and only friend.

Timothy’s differences are not the Green’s only concerns.  The Stanleyville Pencil Factory, the town’s main source of employment, is in trouble.  Can Stanleyville’s special boy help?  The Odd Life of Timothy Green has a nice message about being different.  Many adopted children have exceptionalities, and Timothy Green provides a metaphor for any exceptional person.  While his parents initially want him perfect, they must accept his uniqueness and imperfections.  In turn, Timothy helps others accept themselves.  The film has a bittersweet ending which makes one wonder about Timothy’s true origins.

The Odd Life of Timothy Green is a sweet family movie that anyone can enjoy.

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The Odd Life of Timothy Green Review by Maureen

*** (out of 4)

Imagine a world where all you have to do to make your dreams come true is write them down, plant them in the garden and watch them grow.  The Odd Life of Timothy Green is a charming and heartwarming fantasy about a couple, Cindy (Jennifer Garner) and Jim Green (Joel Edgerton) who long to have a child of their own.  Saddened by the news that they likely can’t have a biological child, they sit down with a glass of wine and write down all the qualities their dream child would have.  Carefully placing their notes in a wood box and planting it in the garden, Cindy and Jim go to bed knowing their dreams have a safe place to rest.

In a fantasy world anything can happen during a thunderstorm.  Sure enough it does and Cindy and Jim awaken to find a muddy boy in their house.  It turns out that dreams can come true and they have an eleven year old son named Timothy (CJ Adams).  Their son is everything they could have hoped for, even if he does have leaves that grow out of his legs.

This is a really sweet movie.  Timothy’s impact on all those around him is a real gift.  Even though the kids at school think he’s odd and are mean to him, he is befriended by another girl, Joni (Odeya Rush) who is also considered odd and different.  Cindy and Jim’s extended families are also changed by their time with Timothy.  There are some really nice scenes with Cindy’s uncle Bub (M. Emmet Walsh) and plenty of funny moments throughout the movie.

The strength of The Odd Life of Timothy Green is in the low key and gentle pace.  The scenery is beautiful in so many scenes and the background score by Geoff Zanelli fits the overall mood nicely.  The lead actors all give solid and believable performances, with CJ Adams in particular doing a nice job of bringing Timothy to life.

The Odd Life of Timothy Green is a nice choice for families looking for a movie that is free of objectionable content or language, but doesn’t feel like a “kids movie.”  With a strong message about being open to welcoming someone new into your heart, even if they’re different, The Odd Life of Timothy Green is worth seeing with the whole family.

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The Odd Life of Timothy Green Review by Tony

*** (out of 4)

Jim and Cindy Green (Joel Edgerton and Jennifer Garner) live in a small town where the only factory faces massive layoffs if not total shutdown. Having just found out that they can never be natural parents, they write up a wish list for an ideal adopted child on slips of paper and bury them in a box, from which The Odd Life of Timothy Green begins. Having emerged overnight from the ground fully formed at about ten years old, Timothy (CJ Adams) at first seems all that they could have hoped for, except for some leaves that grow out of his lower legs.

Obsessed about having a kid that will be accepted, Jim and Cindy keep the leaves hidden under thick socks but his good natured awkwardness and honesty to a fault attract bullies none the less. Timothy does however manage to touch the lives of some people in positive ways, including a great uncle (M. Emmet Walsh) on his deathbed, a quirky girl (Odeya Rush), and finally the people at the pencil factory.

Peter Hedges wrote the screenplayfrom a story by Ahmet Zappa and directed The Odd Life of Timothy Green. I wasn’t entirely comfortable with the weird premise of the story but with a fine cast and overall production it is a charming Disney film whose theme of acceptance young audiences in particular may find inspiring.

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Consensus: With good performances from Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton and likeable newcomer CJ Adams, The Odd Life of Timothy Green is an undeniably touching family film that delivers a unique premise with charming Disney magic.  *** (Out of 4)

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