I’m convinced that if the Disney folks had thought up the “Pet Sematary” story before Stephen King, “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” could have been the result.
I still get chills thinking about little Gage talking to his father, “Now I want to play with yooouuu!” OK, forget that.
This is not that movie, but there is an undeniable creep factor in this sweet tale of a barren couple, Jim and Cindy Green (Joel Edgerton and Jennifer Garner), who desperately want a child and can’t let it go.
In an effort to put it all behind them, they decide to write down the great attributes they want in a child, put them in a box and bury the box in the garden.
The following night, after a particularly nasty thunderstorm, they find a mud-covered 10-year-old boy foraging for food in their kitchen.
The boy says his name is Timothy. The Greens call the police to report a missing child. He says, “Hi, Mom and Dad.” It’s a miracle. Their wish has come true. They send the police away. The Greens have the only live-action cabbage patch kid in recorded history.
And indeed, Timothy has all of the attributes they listed, from being honest and courageous, to outgoing and humorous.
The only little oddity they discover after cleaning the boy up is that he has leaves growing on his legs. The local nurseryman is fascinated, but there is little they can do to remove them. So they decide to keep Timothy in long pants, tell no one else and go on their merry way.
I mean, after all, he acts like any other normal kid, except that he has flora sprouting from his lower legs and seems to be a big fan of the sun. That’s not too weird, right?
Timothy’s impact on his family, friends and community is subtle, but significant. The Greens are overly elated, their relatives all adore the kid, and he’s an inspiration to all he meets.
And it’s probably not coincidental that the small town they live in, Stanleyville, is the pencil capital of the world. They’ve been making the traditional “No. 2s” forever, but business is dropping, factory layoffs are threatened and Ron Livingston gets to play the money-grubbing corporate weasel. Surely, Timothy can do nothing to save the factory, or can he?
Amidst this strangeness is a delightfully simple story of love, devotion and determination. However, if you can’t get beyond the sprouting-little-boy scenario, you probably won’t be able to enjoy it as much. If you just go with the flow and try not to “dig” too deeply, you’ll more than likely have a good time.
There’s no question Timothy Green is odd, but he’s not as weird as Benjamin Button or as electrifying as Powder or as wooden as Pinocchio.
He’s just a kid who sprang from the ground and happens to love plants. What’s so wrong with that? (Add your list here.)