When tending to a garden, you get what you put in. They say if you love a plant, it will somehow know and grow healthier, stronger and faster. Now, imagine a child who grows out of a childless couples hopes and dreams, and teaches them and their town about love, joy and believing in themselves.
When I first watched the trailer for The Odd Life of Timothy Green, I was not impressed by what seemed to be a textbook idealistic, feel-good movie that not so subtly incorporated lessons about family values. But I was in for a surprise.
Jim and Cindy Green (Joel Edgerton and Jennifer Garner), a couple from Stanleyville, Americas pencil capital, had longed for a child of their own for ages. Finally, after being told that they had exhausted all the medical options, they sat down with a notebook and a bottle of wine to move on. They wrote all the characteristics they imagined their child having seeing the glass half-full, Picasso with a pencil, honest to a fault, funny like Uncle Bob, would score the winning goal in a soccer match and buried the slips of paper in their garden.
That same night, a rogue thunderstorm crashes into Stanleyville, and suddenly, a 10-year-old boy emerges from the earth, calling them mom and dad. His name is Timothy (CJ Adams). The rest of the film follows the Greens as Timothy fulfills the dreams that they harbored for a child, the struggles Jim and Cindy face as new parents, and illustrates the mark that Timothy leaves on several lives in Stanleyville before he just as suddenly disappears.
Adams is the undeniable highlight of this movie. The laughs and tears that this movie evokes are primarily from his wide-eyed attempts to fit into the Greens lives. His sheer innocence during his interactions with Edgerton and Garner are convincingly honest to a fault, though at times the role of overprotective parents is exaggerated.
The one thing that struck me as truly odd about the movie until the end was the perspective in which Jim and Cindy narrated the tale. They sat in the office of a U.S. Adoption Agency, telling the Timothys story in order to convince an apathetic adoption counselor (Shohreh Aghdashloo) of their aptitude as parents.
But as the story progressed, and they both seemed to develop a grasp on what a family meant, the perspective seemed to make more and more sense. Like the premise of the movie it seemed to impart a message: never give up on your dreams.
The Odd Life of Timothy Green is unconventionally told, but done so with the good message and the feel good factor that is appropriate for audiences of all ages.