The Odd Life of Timothy Green (2012) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies
18Aug/124

The Odd Life of Timothy Green (2012)

Danny no longer writes for Can't Stop the Movies, and can be reached at his fantastic site Pre-Code.com

What's the nature of living if not to make the world a better place? The Odd Life of Timothy Green is about the odd life of a young man (named Timothy Green, natch) who comes into existence because two people want him so much that eventually he materializes. His existence turns out to be a lot more than the pair bargained for, but I suppose there wouldn't be much of a film if everything went smoothly after that.

The parents are Jim (Joel Edgerton, Warrior) and Cindy (Jennifer Garner) who have just been informed that they've failed their last ditch 'we've tried every damn thing to get pregnant' test. Devastated, they decide to put everything they dream of for their kid into a box and bury it in the garden. That night, through the magic of cinema, out pops a little dirt covered boy. I can only assume Timothy wasn't a baby because then we wouldn't be so sure that it was mud the kid was covered in.

Yes, you're thinking, I've seen this episode of "The Twilight Zone." Parents wish for a baby, get a baby, turns out the baby is Hitler. That's not quite the case in Odd Life, though the movie definitely puts the characters through the ringer by having Timothy (CJ Adams) be one of those movie devices where his agenda is to make everyone happier and better people, whether they like it or not.

This must be that teal and blue I've heard so much about...

That Timothy is only a plot device may be one of the most frustrating aspects of the film. Despite his name in the title, he remains mostly in the background, an imp with an agenda that is fairly obvious to the audience, but it would have made things go down a bit easier if he were a bit more in the forefront. As the old saying goes, "Too much perfection is a mistake", and the character of Timothy Green is dangerously close to towing that line.

Luckily, Garner and Edgerton are so good in the movie that it's easy to forgive how opaque the proceedings are. They're raw and honest, reacting to this event with great big gobs of gusto. The movie is told with them narrating to a bemused adoption agent, as they lay out what they learned from this bizarre adventure, which also allows them to deflate the absurdity of the situation directly to the audience.

Meanwhile, there's also a subplot about their small town's pencil factory shutting down and the film's score sounds like an orchestral version of The Postal Service's "Such Great Heights", so, yeah, the film does become dangerously close to being too twee by half. The generally pleasant tone also makes the story veer dangerously close to Hallmark movie territory, but the direction by Peter Hedges (Pieces of April) imbues the film with a deeper spiritual beauty, and an attempt to connect the film's messages with nature and living.

The best reasons to watch this film.

And so Jim and Cindy learn their lessons. Jim realizes that he can't stand up for anyone else until he stands up for himself, and Cindy finally recognizes that she has to stop caring what other people think in order to be successful. Though the film firmly points at these lessons, it never verbally emphasizes them, instead letting the audience watch as the couple flails.

But the most important lesson that the couple is imparted with is that they can't sit around and mope. That they can't dwell on the mistakes that their parents made, and must instead do right; make the world a better place by accepting their limitations and reaching out to others. It's a good message, and one I wholeheartedly agree with. I wish it had been on the tip of a stronger piece, but the emotional upheavals of the two main characters are delivered with enough raw honesty to work.

The movie is never forceful, and reeks of sincerity in every corner. It's deeply trying to discover an uncynical view of the world, where magic only exists to help people better themselves and the worst problems can be fixed by bouts of honesty. The Odd Life of Timothy Green is a pretty good movie for 1955.

Posted by Danny

Comments (4) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Damn you, Timothy Green, your odd life traumatizing random kids!

  2. This movie didn’t do much for me, but at least provided me with an enjoyable two hours of some solid performances from this talented cast. Perfect movie to bring grand mom and grand pop to, because that’s exactly what I did. Great review Danny.


Leave Your Thoughts!

Trackbacks are disabled.