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Still shot from the movie: The Odd Life of Timothy Green.

The Odd Life of Timothy Green

Sometimes parents tell kids that they were brought by the stork, but in the case of Timothy (CJ Adams), he tells Cindy and Jim Green (Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton) that he came from the garden. As odd as it all may seem, the childless couple is happy to adopt the little sprout.

Overall Grade: A-
Violence: B
Sexual Content: A-
Language: B+
Drugs/Alcohol: B
Release Date: 15 Aug 2012
Run Time: 105
MPAA Rating: PG

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In-Depth Review

Odd is the perfect way to describe the film The Odd Life of Timothy Green. The cinematically gorgeous production asks viewers to suspend their hold on reality (especially when it comes to government agencies) for the sake of enjoying this fantastical tale about a most unusual boy.

Devastated by the news that they will never be able to conceive a child, Jim and Cindy Green (Joel Edgerton, Jennifer Garner) mourn the doctor’s report by penciling a list of all the characteristics and qualities their unrealized child would have—things like a sense of humor, a big heart, honesty and the ability to love and be loved. Then they place all those little slips of paper in a wooden box and bury it in their backyard outside the small town of Stanleyville where both are employed by the Stanleyville Pencil Company.

Now I’ve grown a garden for 25 years and have yet to sprout a child, but quick as Jack’s magic beans grew into a gigantic beanstalk, a boy germinates in the soft soil of the Green’s plot. Still muddy from his incubation among the vegetables, Timothy looks like any other 10-year-old except for the leaves growing on his legs. His sudden arrival requires an explanation to family and friends (though the fact about the garden is conveniently avoided). However that seems like a small sacrifice for Jim and Cindy who are thrilled with their new role as parents.

Timothy, a gentle, serious soul, quickly becomes an easy target for school bullies and an unlikely competitor on the soccer field. Yet, he also possesses the ability to relate to the elderly (M. Emmet Walsh), the unlikable (Dianne West), the aloof (David Morse) and the outcast (Odeya Rush). But his compassion comes at a cost.

In reality, the story is less about Timothy than it is about the hopes and expectations of his parents. While trying to create a perfect boyhood for their new son, Cindy and Jim find themselves drawn into the competitive venture of childrearing, where bragging rights are paramount. They are also forced to face the disappointments they experienced in their own childhoods. During all of the Green’s frenzied attempts to be the flawless parents, Timothy remains a quiet, calming presence in the home.

Any parents willing to be honest would probably admit there are things they’d do differently if given the chance to raise their child again. Some knowledge only comes with experience. Timothy gives this inexperienced couple a chance to learn what things are really important as a parent. Kids in the audience likely won’t appreciate the lesson. But maybe the adults sitting beside them will leave the theater less worried about what their neighbors’ (or sibling’s) kids are doing and more interested in helping their own children blossom.

Content Details: Beyond the Movie Ratings...

Violence: A man forcefully throws a ball at child during a game of dodge ball. One child is hit in the head and knocked to the ground. A child is smeared with food while being bullied at school. A girl gets a bloody nose after being kicked in the face. Adults are oblivious to a child on the bottom of a swimming pool. A couple argues loudly. A child is injured during a soccer game. A corpse is seen in a casket. An adult male argues with his father. Some brief moments of peril are shown.

Sexual Content: A married couple kisses. Girls wear swimsuits at a pool party.

Language: The script contains brief, mild profanities and some terms of Deity.

Alcohol / Drug Use: A couple drinks wine at home with some seeming affect on their sobriety.

Discussion Ideas: Talk About the Movie...

Cindy’s sister considers drawing to be a “waste” of time. How does Brenda choose to fill her time? Why does she consider her children’s activities to be more important than the things Jim, Cindy and their son Timothy are pursuing? How do these interactions depict the competitive nature of some parents? Can a parent’s good intentions or aspirations result in over scheduling a child or undervaluing individual talents, temperaments and interests?

What things do Cindy and Jim learn about standing up to others? How do they grow in the role as parents? What things do they say they would do differently next time? What things as a parent would you change if given the chance?

How can family and friends support couples that are unable to have children?

Video alternatives

Other parentless children find a home with strangers in the movies A Shine of Rainbows, Anne of Green Gables and Pete’s Dragon.

Home Video Notes

Home Video Notes: The Odd Life of Timothy Green

Release Date: 4 December 2012

The Odd Life of Timothy Green releases to home video (Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack) with the following extras:

- Deleted Scenes

- Music Video: This Gift by Glen Hansard

Exclusive HD Content

- Documentary: Family Roots: Bringing ‘The Odd Life of Timothy Green’ to the Screen

- Glen Hansard: Behind This Gift

- Director Audio Commentary

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About the Reviewer: Kerry Bennett

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