Thanks to the in-laws in town visiting (& lots of extra help around the house), I was able to attend an advanced screening of The Odd Life of Timothy Green with a good friend a couple of weeks ago. I was so excited for a couple hour break at what looked like a great “mom” movie. And, it was indeed great. I should have brought tissues though–especially in my hormonal, postpartum state! I cried off and on for the entire 100 minutes!
Academy Award®–nominated director/writer Peter Hedges brings enchantment to the screen with Disney’s “The Odd Life of Timothy Green.” It’s the inspiring, magical story of a happily married couple, Cindy and Jim Green (Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton), who can’t wait to start a family but can only dream about what their child would be like. When young Timothy (CJ Adams) shows up on their doorstep one stormy night, Cindy and Jim—and their small town of Stanleyville—learn that sometimes the unexpected can bring some of life’s greatest gifts.
I loved this movie, but it was a really emotional one for me. Perhaps the fact that I had just had a baby when seeing it made it worse, but I’m pretty sure I would have been emotional anyway. The movie essentially opens with Cindy (Garner) and Jim (Edgerton) being told that although they’ve tried everything possible, they are not able to have a child. Cue the tears. I couldn’t help but think of all of my friends struggling with this very thing. Friends who have literally tried everything and still don’t have a baby. It breaks my heart.
As Cindy decides that it’s time to move on (emerging from the babyless nursery with a red, tear stained face), Jim isn’t in that place yet. He doesn’t want to give up. And with that, they begin to write notes of attributes that their kid would have had. I loved this scene (part of it is in the trailer)! Then, after the lightheartedness of it wears off & reality sets in, they carefully & lovingly place all those little notes in a wooden box and bury it in the garden, symbolically laying to rest their dream of having a child. Cue the tears again.
And, once again, I was reminded of friends, specifically one old friend in particular…. only she didn’t have to just bury dreams & notes in a little wooden box. She had to bury her precious baby girl in a little wooden box. After 3 years of trying, appointments, and treatments, they were finally about to have the baby they’d been dreaming about. Then, she went in for a routine 24 week appointment and her baby girl’s heartbeat was gone. Devastating. How I wish a Timothy Green could come out of the dreams buried in the garden for all of my friends struggling with pregnancy loss & infertility.
In the movie, after a magical event or divine intervention (the movie doesn’t really suggest one or the other), Timothy does indeed emerge from the garden, “grown” just for Cindy and Jim. And, from there, they get to experience the joys of parenthood with their sweet (but different) Timothy.
I loved watching all the family moments that took place. In many ways, I felt like I was watching life to come (since Timothy is 10) with our 3 little guys here (and of course, that made me emotional too. Lol!). So, it especially warmed my heart to see all the excitement and joy from Cindy & Jim as they experienced everything with Timothy. From a parenting perspective, it was great to watch– all the fun moments, the mistakes, the learning, the relationship between Jim & Cindy as they make parenting decisions. There are many deep concepts and lots of takeaways from the movie… The love of family; not taking kids & family for granted; it’s ok to be different; the importance of living in the moment.
I think it’s a must-see for parents! Now the question…is it “ok” for kids?! Absolutely, in the sense that there is nothing inappropriate at all. The only thing to consider is whether your child could understand and/or would be ok with the deeper topics/concepts in the film. It would have been a bit much for Big Brother (who’s 5). But, I think kids closer to Timothy’s age (10) and older would really benefit from seeing the film. It would be great to watch together as a family!
The Odd Life of Timothy Green hits theaters everywhere on Wednesday, August 15th!!
Have YOU seen the movie or are you planning on going? If you’ve seen it, what did you think?
Disclosure: I saw this movie at a free press screening at the invitation of Disney. All opinions and experiences are my own and your opinion of the movie may differ from mine.