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The Odd Life of Timothy Green (2 stars)

Misguided combination of emotionally sensitive adult themes and Disney fairytale coating

The Odd Life of Timothy Green

Disney's The Odd Life of Timothy Green is a film as peculiar as its name suggests. But while certainly ambitious and well-meaning in concept, its execution feels a little too sentimental and contrived to be taken seriously.

The film follows devoted wannabe parents Cindy (Jennifer Garner) and Jim (Joel Edgerton) as they attempt to come to terms with their failure to conceive by writing a wish-list of things they dreamt of having, or enjoying, with their child.

Burying it in the garden, the couple's home is subsequently hit by a rogue storm, which in turn delivers a mud-covered 10-year-old boy to their door named Timothy (CJ Adams), who has leaves growing out of his legs and who immediately addresses them as mum and dad. Barely batting an eyelid, Cindy and Jim accept this 'miracle' and begin introducing him to the community.

Directed and co-written by Peter Hedges (of What's Eating Gilbert Grape fame), The Odd Life of Timothy Green does confront some big ideas concerning the raising of kids (helicopter parenting, emotional disconnection) and has a darkness lurking beneath the surface.

It's also nicely performed by Edgerton, Garner and a very sweet Adams, as well as a supporting cast that includes established character actors David Morse, Dianne Wiest and Rosemarie DeWitt.

But by wrapping things up in a Disney-style fairytale coating and coming over too sweet the film tends to feel a little misguided, especially when dealing with something as emotionally sensitive as failure to conceive.

It's also difficult to know who it's aimed at, with children and teenagers unlikely to have a proper grasp of or care for the mature themes at play, and adults equally dumb-struck by the strange mix of family-friendly, coming-of-age material and those bigger issues. Odd is exactly the right word for this curious experience.

The Odd Life of Timothy Green Trailer

The Odd Life of Timothy Green

  • 2 stars
  • 2012
  • US
  • 105 min
  • U
  • Directed by: Peter Hedges
  • Written by: Peter Hedges
  • Cast: Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton, CJ Adams
  • UK release: 5 April 2013

Infertile parents Cindy (Garner) and Jim (Edgerton) are surprised when a mud-covered 10-year-old boy appears at their house, claiming them as his mum and dad. This Disney-style fairytale is well-meaning but too sentimental and contrived, and the combination of sensitive adult themes and family-friendly style seems…


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