Title: The Odd Life of Timothy Green
Director: Peter Hedges
Even though the flick is titled, The Odd Life of Timothy Green, one can practically sum this up with two simple points: Spectacular acting and a moving musical score. Yep, this guy was moved.
The acting is the most surprising element considering who’s involved. Joel Edgerton and Jennifer Garner are happily married in a tiny town set in the backwoods. They make a modest living with Edgerton working at the town’s lifeline (a pencil-making factory) and Garner being a tour guide of sorts at the local pencil museum (basically, an old house). Both being born-and-raised in the small town, the majority of their family (comprised of acting talents M. Emmet Walsh, David Morse, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Lois Smith) are always around and full of straight-forward opinions.
Despite having a normal life, for a lack of a better phrase, the couple really yearns to have a child. They’ve tried the old-fashioned way but the chemistry set just isn’t coming together. After hearing the news that it’s medically impossible, they cope with this depressing time by pretending to draw up, literally, their ideal offspring. They then take all doodles of accolades they hope their kid would accomplish, put it in the box, and bury it the backyard; which signified that they’re ready to move on in life as they are.
Well, after an ominous storm in the night, a miracle occurs and it appears the wholesome duo is getting a shot at life – specifically, raising one – after all.
A young boy by the name of Timothy (CJ Adams) shows up and both Edgerton and Garner accept the fact that the unexplainable has occurred. In fact, they embrace it. Plus, it helps that Timothy is pretty much the perfect child they always envisioned.
Introducing him to the family and school life can be a bit of an obstacle for the newly minted family; for Timothy does have something unique on his person – which his accepting parents make sure no one finds out about. Timothy is also aware of what could happen, but let’s just say he seems to be one-step of ahead of everyone in the town.
Giving any more details would be inconsiderate at this point. All that’s really left to be said is that the story has an emotional charm to it that is delivered through top-notch performances by the entire cast. It’s funny; yours truly went back-n-forth multiple times on which actor surprised the most. Jennifer Garner takes it to another level and Joel Edgerton’s delivery and timing should be studied by all aspiring actors. And then enters in little CJ Adams and he just might steal the show; though the script does use him wisely. However, when seeing him interacting with his only real friend upon attending school in Joni (Odeya Rush), the two are the best kid-combo since Chloe Grace Moretz and Kodi Smit-McPhee in 2010’s Let Me In. Prior to that horror product, one would have to go back to 1991’s My Girl. In other words, it was a pleasure to watch, especially considering their experience in the biz.
This does have religious undertones for sure, but it doesn’t get all preachy and lets you decide what the message is. For such a quiet telling it is sincerely sharp and engrossing once you get past the opening 10-15 minutes.
Overall, The Odd Life of Timothy Green is a visual story that is rewarding no matter what walk of life you come from. Not to sound like a PR rep, but you will smile, chuckle, ponder and more importantly, feel. And once again, the lead performers were marvelous to the point that it almost felt as if they found a new method of acting in these types of films.