The Odd Life of Timothy Green
November 30, 2012
Ever since Juno (2007), Jennifer Garner seems to have been relegated to playing “mom” roles – whether it is by choice or by typecasting is uncertain. She seems to have moved on from the more physically demanding roles (Daredevil) and romantic comedies (13 Going on 30) that had been the staples of her career. The last few of these she did were commercial failures so maybe she felt it was time to try something new. This coincided with the family she started with actor/director Ben Affleck, which may explain why she’s doing films like The Odd Life of Timothy Green (2012).
Jim (Edgerton) and Cindy (Garner) Green are unable to have a baby. Their doctor told them that it is simply not possible. On the verge of moving on with their lives, the couple decides to brainstorm a list of desirable qualities they would like their child to have, put it in a box and bury it in their yard. That night there is a powerful storm with torrential rain. They wake up and find a boy named Timothy (Adams) covered in mud in their house. After Jim and Cindy clean him up they notice several tiny green leaves growing out of his ankles and discover that he came out of the ground right where they buried the box.
They are understandably taken aback at this development and even more so when he calls them mom and dad. But they realize that young Timothy is the answer to all their dreams. However, because of his sudden appearance, Jim and Cindy decide to tell their friends and family that he is adopted. Meanwhile, the town pencil factory – the single biggest, most important industry in the area – where Jim works is on the verge of closing down.
Director Peter Hedges adopts a warm color palette full of autumnal colors (reds, browns and dark greens) that, coupled with the small-town setting, attempts to create a postcard-perfect image of middle-America straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton manage to keep the “aw shucks” Americana down to tolerable levels with their heartfelt performances.
Films that dabble in magic realism are hard to pull off well and for every Field of Dreams (1989) that gets it right, there are many that don’t pull it off. The Odd Life of Timothy Green does a pretty good job and this is down to C.J. Adams and his portrayal of the titular character. He doesn’t act like a typical child actor and plays Timothy as a level-headed boy who’s honest to a fault. He uses his unique way of seeing the world to help make people happy. This film conveys a simple message of tolerance and believing in one’s self, something that we all could use a dose of right now.
For a film where color is so important, the Blu-Ray transfer really makes the autumnal look that is prevalent throughout pop and come to life in the most wonderful way. This is a great looking film, which this transfer shows off.
“This Family” takes a look at the origins of The Odd Life of Timothy Green, from the original idea to the final product. The cast and crew talk about the importance of family and gush about the wonderful experience of making the film.
“The Gift of Music” explores the creation of the film’s score with composer Geoff Zanelli and musician Glen Hansard (Once), who created the original song, “This Gift” specifically for the film.
Also included is the music video for “This Gift” that mixes clips from the film with a video of Hansard performing.
There is an audio commentary by director Peter Hedges. He wanted to make a film like Field of Dreams, a timeless classic that people would revisit. He had never incorporated a magical element in his films before this one and found it to be an intriguing challenge. Hedges covers various aspects, including the screenplay, the visual look, the film’s themes, and also injects a few filming anecdotes.
Finally, there are five deleted scenes with optional commentary by Hedges. He puts the footage in the context of the film and explains why it was cut out. There are a couple of scenes with the next door neighbor, which the director regrets cutting. Most of this footage admittedly adds little to the film and was rightly removed.