Thursday, August 9, 2012

Review: The Odd Life of Timothy Green

On the night they receive the news that they will never be able to conceive a baby, Cindy and Jim Green hold a unique mourning ceremony. They write down all their hopes for what their child would have been like and bury them in a box in their garden. They're surprised when a 10-year-old boy named Timothy shows up in their house, covered with dirt, calling them "Mom" and "Dad," and with leaves growing out of his legs.

This gentle fairy tale looks at parent-child relationships the same the way that The Parent Trap and Freaky Friday did, but using the problems today's children have with their parents. Cindy and Jim are eager to do everything right, be perfect parents, and spare Timothy any of the anguish that they recall from their youth. In no time at all, they are hovering over Timothy's every move. "He can have secrets," Cindy tells Jim. "As long as he tells them to us."

Their own issues with family members come to light as they react to Timothy's experiences. Also, since Timothy's leaves make him "special" they are determined that he will not be made fun of which just increases the hovering.

Writer/director Peter Hedges wrote What's Eating Gilbert Grape and About a Boy, both wryly quirky movies that I enjoyed for their ability to provide insight and humor when viewing the world from an unusual angle. This movie is no different, although it has been necessarily Disney-fied.

Timothy's unusual origin and the difference his presence makes is a nicely original concept and a humorous way at looking at the helicopter parent generation. We enjoyed it and so did the audience we were with which had a nice sprinkling of children throughout. They laughed a lot throughout and gave the movie a round of applause at the end. This is just the sort of movie our girls would have liked when they were young and I am definitely going to recommend it to the parents and grandparents I know who are looking for a good summer movie.

The Odd Life of Timothy Green opens August 15.

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