After Cindy (Jennifer Garner) and Jim (Joel Edgerton) learn they cannot have children, they are amazed to discover a mud-covered boy calling himself Timothy (CJ Adams) standing in the room that was once going to be their offspring’s claiming to be their son. Things get even crazier and more magical from there, the two loving adults learning valuable life lessons that will change both their world as well as of that of their family and friends.
Here’s some of what I wrote about this one in my theatrical review:
“It goes without saying that The Odd Life of Timothy Green is fantasy. Working from a story by Ahmet Zappa, screenwriter and director Peter Hedges (Dan in Real Life, Pieces of April) has constructed a family fable fitting well within the Disney canon, calling to mind works of fiction like Bridge to Terabithia, One Magic Christmas and Candleshoe. That it moved me in ways I can’t quite put into words isn’t a surprise, that is has me still sitting here scratching my head a bit underwhelmed by the aspects that don’t entirely come together somewhat is. For what it is, for what Hedges and company set out to do, the movie does work, that fact is undeniable. At the same time certain elements never develop like they should making the finished feature something of a mixed bag difficult to dislike but equally hard to fully embrace.
The early bits work the best. Timothy’s magical appearance, the sight of a raging thunderstorm working in reverse, the way Cindy and Jim discover they boy’s soil-enriched secret, all of it is a beguiling mix of whimsy, emotion and melodrama that held me happily spellbound. Things didn’t need to be spelled out, nothing needed to be overly explained, Timothy’s appearance just is, exactly as it should be, making the Green’s embracing of him all the more richly rewarding in the process.
But there are little issues throughout, some of them not too big a deal but others very much so. Side stories involving the potential closing of the town’s legendary pencil factory (where Jim is a manager) and Timothy’s attempts to fit in with the rest of the family (most notably Brenda’s, Cindy’s perfectionist sister played by a woefully underutilized Rosemarie DeWitt) are uncomfortably herky-jerky shifting in tone for too often. Most annoying is a framing device utilizing a solid, if not particularly memorable Shohreh Aghdashloo, the pair telling their story for reasons best discovered within in the confines of the film itself even if these moments don’t work near as well as they’re obviously meant to.
Still, there are scenes that broke my heart, made me smile ear to ear and had my soul overflowing with joy. One sequence between Adams and veteran character actor M. Emmet Walsh is hypnotic in its subtly honest simplicity, while another meet-cute moment involving relative newcomer Odeya Rush, playing a fellow youngster who finds Timothy intriguing, is borderline divine. As for the ending, while what happens is hardly a shock or a surprise, Hedges earned my tears, and I can’t for a second say I felt ashamed for shedding a single solitary one of them.
Could the movie have been classic? Maybe. There are certainly times were I felt the script didn’t go far enough, didn’t take enough time to flesh out its supporting players or make the situation at the pencil factory, and the subsequent resolution to all the madness (it involves leaves), resonate strongly enough to make a lick of sense. But Garner and Edgerton give all of themselves, while young Adams is an ethereal standout in the title role. I enjoyed The Odd Life of Timothy Green, raptured in many of its delicate nuances. There is magic to be found here, to be certain, maybe just enough to make the portions where it failed to reach high enough worth enduring.”
The Odd Life of Timothy Green is one of those charming little movies that’s perfect for home viewing. You can get up to fold some laundry or do a couple of dishes and not feel like you missed a darn thing, but when you sit back down on the couch you find yourself being drawn in emotionally as if you’ve watched every single second of it. It’s wonderful in that regard, and even though my reservations about certain aspects remain I’d be lying through my teeth if I didn’t admit to being suitably entertained by most of what was going on this second time around.
The Odd Life of Timothy Green is presented on a dual-layer 50GB Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video with a 1.85:1 1080p transfer.
This Blu-ray features an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack as well as French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks and features optional English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Extras here include:
· Audio Commentary with director Peter Hedges – I liked this commentary track a lot, because even though Hedges is fond of his creation he’s not above talking about facets he could have dived into in a little bit more detail. It’s an engaging and informative track, and one fans of the film will be more than satisfied with.
· “This is Family” Featurette – Standard behind-the-scenes short featuring interviews with the cast and crew. Good for what it is, but nothing extraordinary one way or the other.
· “The Gift of Music” Featurette – Nice short on singer/songwriter Glen Hansard and composer Geoff Zanelli. Well worth a look (maybe even two).
· Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary – I actually think a few of these should have been incorporated into the finished film, potentially erasing some of my tiny misgivings in regards to some of the subplots and the framing device. Hedges’ does offer solid reasons for excising all of them, however, so take that into consideration as well.
· Glen Hansard “The Gift” Music Video – Great song, somewhat lousy video.
The Odd Life of Timothy Green is well worth watching, family audiences sure to get a kick out of it. While not perfect live-action Disney, it’s still fairly solid, the studio’s Blu-ray presentation a darn good one.