Suspension of Disbelief: The Odd Life of Timothy Green
Suspension of Disbelief is a weekly feature, in which we review movies, books, TV shows, and other popular culture for the skeptical teen.
Review: The story begins with a childless couple in the adoption agency, explaining why they’d be well suited to provide a home to a child. They have a very unusual story to tell, about their adventures raising a boy who came from the garden. When first learning that they would never be able to have children of their own, Cindy and Jim Green bury a box containing all their wishes and hopes for their kid in the backyard. That same night, 10 year-old Timothy enters their lives. He doesn’t have any idea how to interact with other people, particularly other children, and on top of those oddities, he has leaves on his ankles. The couple is faced with a (sometimes literal) crash course in how to be parents, while Timothy learns how to live and love in his new community.
Personally, I adored this whole movie. It begins with a fantastical element, but there’s no magic outside of that initial premise. Timothy can’t zap his way out of bullying, or have some charm to become the most popular kid in school. He’s the weird kid with a secret, who’s too naive to even realize how strange his honesty and genuine like of everyone are in the modern world. In spite of his troubles, he makes friends with some of his peers, earns the respect of several prominent adults in the community, and even has a child’s romance with an unlikely girl. His parents don’t get the best of luck either. They have job trouble, like many small-town Americans in the current economy. There are also family troubles: a sick guardian, an emotionally distant father, sibling rivalry. The situations and emotions in the movie, therefore, are very real, moreso than is usually possible in fantasy.
As much as it touches on some heavy themes, though, The Odd Life of Timothy Green is a very light-hearted movie, with tear-jerker moments. It’s also a film that is more geared toward kids and families, such that it can be enjoyed on many levels. I found it very sweet and touching, earning a rating of 4 out of 5. Not the best movie ever, but a nice way to spend a quiet evening with friends or family.