Thursday, July 12, 2012

“The Odd Life Of Timothy Green” – Movie Review



This week, the 2nd half of the summer semester for my movie class began with a new drama from Disney, “The Odd Life Of Timothy Green”, starring Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton.


When a married couple learns they cannot have a child, they fantasize what their imaginary offspring might be like – but when a boy appears claiming to be their son, can they raise him as if he was their own?


Cindy & Jim Green (Garner & Edgerton) are a married couple who yearn to have a child. After a physician informs them that it will be medically impossible for them to conceive, they try to move on from their pain by making a list of the qualities their imaginary son would have. Symbolically, they put this list in a box and bury it in the fertile garden located behind their house. After it rains overnight, they awake early the next morning to discover the ground where they planted their box has been disturbed and to their shock, a 10 year old boy has arrived – his name is Timothy (CJ Adams) and he maintains they are his parents.

Among the myriad unusual things about this event is Timothy’s foliage growing on his shins. Fearing the boy would be picked-on for this unusual appearance, Cindy & Jim immediately cover his legs in a pair of socks and instruct him to keep his unique feature a secret from others since no one would understand. They summon a friend, an expert landscaper, to trim the leaves off Timothy’s legs, but he only succeeds in breaking his tools in the process. When family visit and question the boy’s presence, the couple tells them that Timothy was sent to them by an adoption agency.

Delighted to now have a child, the couple immediately embraces parenthood but soon realize that despite their intense desire for a family, they are actually ill-equipped to be parents. Among many mistakes and poor decisions, they are miserable and fear they are doing the same to Timothy. But Timothy takes it all in stride and doesn’t let any of the misfortune bother him – in fact, his calamities allow him to find Joni, a friend who quickly turns confidante. But when autumn arrives and Timothy defoliates, how will this impact life with his parents?


Is Disney’s “The Odd Life Of Timothy Green” fairy tale, fable or fantasy? Maybe a combination of two, if not all three. Regardless of category, what is its message? That parents are imperfect? Is it the importance of family? Is it about tolerance and acceptance? (“It’s OK to be different, even if you are a little weird!”, as one character states) Therein may be the problem as its intent is arguably a bit muddled. To me, the movie is ultimately about how necessarily flawed parents are, regardless of their best intentions; the parents screw up with Timothy, yet seem undeterred by the responsibilities of parenthood because they are outweighed by its rewards.

Will this muddling of the message negatively impact how the film is received either commercially or critically? Perhaps, but this could be one of those movies that’s critic-proof due to the fact that it’s family-friendly fare, which has been quite popular and successful lately. In order to view “Timothy Green”, you really have to understand you are seeing a “magical” or spiritual story. The reason, of course, is due to the fact that there is so much for which you must suspend your disbelief even though it otherwise seems to be based in a real world. This may not be a problem for movies that are obvious from a trailer, advertisement or movie poster that they are in such an unreal realm, but a good deal of the success of this movie may in fact wind up depending on its marketing.

Following the screening, our instructor interviewed the film’s director, Peter Hedges, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Ahmet Zappa. Hedges has an impressive filmography, including “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?”, “About A Boy” and “Pieces Of April”. He said at the time he became aware of the project, he was not interested in collaborating on someone else’s work; coming from a background as a novelist, he was more inclined to concentrate on his own ideas instead. However, after introduction to Zappa, who had the original idea for “Timothy Green”, Hedges was sufficiently curious about the originality of the concept that he decided to dedicate himself to working on the story with Zappa.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Speak Your Piece, Beeyotch!