THE ODD LIFE OF TIMOTHY GREEN (PG)

The Odd Life of Timothy Green (PG)

 

Movie Info

Rating: * * 1/2

Cast: Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton, CJ Adams, Odeya Rush, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Rosemarie DeWitt, David Morse, Dianne Wiest, M. Emmet Walsh, Ron Livingston, Common.

Writer-director: Peter Hedges.

Producers: Scott Sanders, James Whitaker, Ahmet Zappa.

A Walt Disney Pictures release. Running time: 100 minutes. Adult themes. Playing at area theaters.


rrodriguez@MiamiHerald.com

He sprouts from their garden and walks into their house, naked and covered in dirt, this curious 10-year-old boy named Timothy (CJ Adams). Cindy (Jennifer Garner) and Jim Green (Joel Edgerton) had been trying and failing to have a child of their own, and suddenly, without explanation, now they have a son.

Timothy is polite and conscientious and an all-around good kid. He also happens to have leaves growing from his ankles, but that’s nothing a pair of tube socks can’t hide. After checking with police to make sure no one has reported a missing child, Cindy and Jim give in to the miracle: They have a beautiful, wonderful son to love, and he loves them back. So what if they can’t explain how, exactly, he got there?

The Odd Life of Timothy Green was written and directed by Peter Hedges ( Pieces of April, Dan in Real Life), who has a keen eye for the small, seemingly insignificant details that make up our everyday lives. He has great compassion, too, for people and all their flaws, from Jim’s gruff, competitive dad (David Morse) to Cindy’s meddling sister (Rosemarie DeWitt), the sort of person who seems to take silent pleasure in the miseries of others.

All of them will be changed for the better by Timothy, who is played by Adams as an immensely likable and intelligent kid who happens to possess near-saintly qualities. Sometimes, when he’s outdoors, he spreads his arms and basks in the sunlight, resembling a pint-sized Messiah with a perpetual smile. He’s almost too good to be true, this kid. Then, with the onset of fall, one of the leaves on his ankles turns brown and falls off. Uh-oh.

The Odd Life of Timothy Green has been made with a family audience in mind: The film radiates sweet, good-natured vibes, much like Timothy does, and even the would-be villains (such as Dianne Wiest’s amusing turn as an officious rich woman) turn out to be softies at heart. The film’s earnestness makes up for its high corn factor. You’d have to be a scrooge to mock a picture as heartfelt as this one. And even as Timothy continues to lose his leaves, and the story inches toward its not-quite-happy finale, Hedges doesn’t opt for cheap tears. Instead, he figures out a way to send you home smiling and happy. The Odd Life of Timothy Green isn’t a story about childhood: This is really a fable about parenting and its accompanying joys and sorrows, done in the trademark Walt Disney style of pleasant, feel-good entertainment that doesn’t leave much of an emotional trace.

Read more Reeling with Rene Rodriguez stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">‘Magic in the Moonlight’:</span> Colin Firth is a stage magician trying to disprove the abilities of an acclaimed psychic (Emma Stone).

    Magic in the Moonlight (PG-13)

    The inherent problem in cranking out a movie (sometimes two!) every year, as Woody Allen has been doing for the last 34 years, is that some of them are inevitably going to be dogs. Does someone have a gun to the filmmaker’s head that forces him to proceed with half-baked, joyless comedies such as Magic in the Moonlight instead of tossing bad ideas out and starting fresh? This is, at best, a 20-minute TV episode extended to feature length, and the stretch marks show. Boy, do they show. That’s practically all you can see, really.

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">‘Guardians of the Galaxy’:</span> Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista and Chris Pratt form an unlikely team of space-jockey superheroes.

    Guardians of the Galaxy (PG-13)

    Watching the zippy, ebullient Guardians of the Galaxy, you wonder “Why can’t all comic-book movies be this much fun?”

  •  
Dad (Ethan Hawke, right) plays around with his son (Ellar Coltrane) in a scene from “Boyhood.”

    Boyhood (R)

    Contrary to most dramas, which tend to dwell on traumatic or seismic events, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood argues that life is a compilation of small, everyday moments, an accumulation of the feelings and thoughts and emotions we start to gather from the time we are children. Shot over the span of 12 years, with the cast getting together for a few days annually to shoot some scenes, the movie charts the growth of Mason (Ellar Coltrane) from the ages of 5 to 18. Mason has an older sister, Samantha (Lorelei Linklater, the director’s daughter) and he has two loving parents, Mom (Patricia Arquette) and Dad (Ethan Hawke), who are divorced and live apart. Their relationship can be contentious at times, but they both care deeply for their kids.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category