The Odd Life of Timothy Green

Rated PG 100 min. 2012

The Odd Life of Timothy Green (PG) No one would be ostracized for viewing the trailer for Disney's latest live action drama, The Odd Life of Timothy Green, and jumping to the conclusion that it is another entry in the studio's mediocre family film catalog. That is, until the talent attached to the movie start appearing on screen. It's not every day that Disney offers an audience a story developed by Ahmet Zappa and directed by Peter Hedges. Jim and Cindy Green (Joel Edgerton and Jennifer Garner) are a happily married couple who lead seemingly picturesque lives until they learn that they are unable to conceive a child. In a moment of desperation, as an exercise to help cheer Cindy up, Jim takes a notepad and starts writing all of the characteristics that their imaginary child would have. Placing the notes in a wooden box, they bury it in Cindy's garden as a gesture that they are moving on with their lives. That night, a storm strikes, dumping water on only their property. The ground above the buried box starts to crack open and push up from the earth. Getting out of bed to shut an open door, Jim finds muddy footprints all around the house. With the help of Cindy, they manage to find the culprit: a 10-year-old boy named Timothy, standing naked and muddy inside their unused nursery. Timothy exhibits all of the traits that the couple had written earlier that night and refuses to call them anything other than mom and dad. Hedges has made a career out of pulling unexpected performances out of his actors, but here he stumbles for the first time in his career. Edgerton and Garner's portrayal of parents blessed with a child slowly becomes the story of a couple that only thinks of themselves. Then again, perhaps that is too much blame to place on Hedges as the director; he also wrote the plothole-filled screenplay, which is somehow even worse than the film itself. It is understood that a certain degree of suspended disbelief is required when dealing with a fantasy film, but nothing in this movie makes any sense at all. While every director has at least one misfire in their filmography, the degree of failure on showcase here is outstanding. We have concrete proof that Hedges is a terrific scribe of family situations. But here we are left with an unsatisfying ending that clumsily attempts to tug at the heartstrings. Sadly, this is a completely wasted effort by a talented filmmaker and ultimately not worthy of the time invested by the viewer. ­—Isaac Weeks

Film Credits

Official Site:

Director: Peter Hedges

Writer: Peter Hedges and Ahmet Zappa

Producer: Ahmet Zappa, Scott Sanders and Jim Whitaker

Cast: Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton, CJ Adams, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Ron Livingston, Dianne Wiest, David Morse, M. Emmet Walsh, Lois Smith and James Rebhorn


The Odd Life of Timothy Green

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