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Erica Galindo
Celebrating Food, Faith and Family
Last edited on: July 18, 2015.

What is the perfect child? To Cindy and Jim Green, it didn’t matter; they just wanted one, desperately. The Odd Life of Timothy Green begins with Jim Green (Joel Edgerton) and his wife Cindy (Jennifer Garner) talking to an adoption agency administrator (Shohreh Aghdashloo) about why they would be good parents. The story then flashes back to the Greens sitting in their doctor’s office, receiving the news they never wanted to hear: that they “couldn’t have tried harder,” and that they had tried everything medically possible to conceive. After an afternoon of contemplation and soul-searching, they get home, Cindy has a good cry, and then says, “We’re moving on.”

However that night, Jim takes out a notepad and says, “For years we have been thinking about what our child would have been like, so let’s have a kid,” and starts to write. “Our kid would never give up” is the first thing he says to get a depressed Cindy interested in his idea. They each get out a glass of wine, and start to write down all of the qualities that they would like to have had in their child. “He’d have a good heart”; “be honest to a fault”; “a Picasso with a pencil”; “love and be loved“; “not athletic, but just once – score the winning goal.” They put the pieces of paper into a small wooden box and bury it in their garden. Putting to rest their dreams of a child along with it.

Joel Edgerton and Jennifer Garner in The Odd Life of Timothy Green; Courtesy of Disney Studios


That night in the drought-stricken town of Stanleyville, there is a heavy rain only over the Green’s property. Waking up to noises in the house and searching through it, Jim and Cindy hear music in their unused nursery. When they open the door, they discover a ten-year-old, mud-covered boy, who introduces himself as Timothy. Timothy just so happened to be the one boy name out of the fifty-four girl names the couple had picked out for their child.

Discovering that Timothy is not an abandoned or lost child, they soon realize that Timothy has come from their garden and has leaves growing out of his ankles. Naturally, they have many questions for him. He tells them, “Please don’t ask about my leaves. But you can look at them – if you want.” Timothy immediately calls Cindy “mom” and Jim “dad” — something that immediately makes Cindy and Jim realize that Timothy is theirs now, and that they now have a family of their own.

Jennifer Garner, CJ Adams, and Joel Edgerton in The Odd Life of Timothy Green; Courtesy of Disney Studios

For the struggling town of Stanleyville, Timothy managed to come at just the right time. He provides hope for Cindy and Jim; laughter to an uncle who hasn’t laughed in years; shows a girl named Joni that it’s okay to be different; and brings joy to many others all over the town.

CJ Adams (Timothy) and Odeya Rush (Joni), in The Odd Life of Timothy Green; Courtesy of Disney Studios

There are little emotional moments throughout the movie that you can’t help but get a little teary eyed in, and other moments that you can’t help but try not to be amazed, be awkward, or laugh in. There are times in the movie that Timothy will just stop whatever he is doing, put his hands out to the side and look up to the sun as if he’s a plant absorbing the sun’s energy. Then he will go back to whatever he was doing before, but the looks on people’s faces around him are always priceless.

CJ Adams as Timothy in The Odd Life of Timothy; Courtesy of Disney Studios

The Odd Life of Timothy Green was written and directed by Peter Hedges (Pieces of April, Dan in Real Life). The storyline is a mix of fairytale and the reality of parenthood along with its joys, its mistakes, and its sorrows.

The casting of The Odd Life of Timothy Green was well done. Relative newcomer CJ Adams, who plays ten-year old Timothy, is fantastic. He is talented, has excellent comedic-timing, and was easily able to pull off everything that was thrown at him. Jennifer Garner (Alias), who plays Cindy Green, and Joel Edgerton (Warrior, The Thing), who plays Jim Green, made a sweet and believable couple. Odeya Rush (another shining newcomer), Dianne Wiest, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Ron Livingston round out this great supporting cast.

Jennifer Garner, CJ Adams, and Joel Edgerton in The Odd Life of Timothy Green; Courtesy of Disney Studios

The Odd Life of Timothy Green is rated PG for mild thematic elements and brief language. There are a couple of “OMG” and one “Oh dear God.” Timothy’s parents can be seen drinking a cup of wine on occasion. Timothy is hit in the head with a ball during a game of dodge ball and a girl is kicked in the nose, causing it to bleed. Timothy is also turned into an ice cream sundae (non-violently) by two bullies.

The Odd Life of Timothy Green is odd indeed, in an absolutely good way. Only Disney will grow a child magically out of the ground and manage to pull it off leaving you with a warm and fuzzy feeling. This is a great family-friendly movie that includes strong positive themes on adoption, parenthood, love, friendship, bullying, the notion that it’s okay to be different, and a little bit on losing the ones we love. I would recommend this movie for ages eight and up simply due to the topics discussed and brief language. This movie works for both kids and adults. If you are the type that enjoys a good “magical” movie, this is the story for you.

CJ Adams as Timothy Green, Courtesy of Disney Studios

Christian Worldview:

Besides the brief interjections of God’s name as mentioned above, this movie is pretty clean and kid friendly. The idea of Timothy growing out of the garden is shown throughout the movie to be nothing but miraculous, but is never explained. There is nothing preachy about this movie, but there are two big things that we can get out of it: all parents make mistakes . . . learn from them . . . and that all children are gifts, no matter where they come from and how different they are.


Watch the Official Movie Trailer for The Odd Life of Timothy Green

To learn more about author April Kruger, visit Cross Shadow Productions

CJ Adams as Timothy Green, Courtesy of Disney Studios

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