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The Odd Life of Timothy Green

MPAA Rating: PG-Rating (MPAA) for mild thematic elements and brief language.

Reviewed by: Laura Busch

Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Kids Family Teens Adults
Family Fantasy Drama
1 hr. 40 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
August 15, 2012 (wide—2,500+ theaters)
DVD: December 4, 2012
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures


Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer

What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer

Does God feel our pain? Answer

Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer

ANXIETY, FEAR AND WORRY—What does the Bible say? Answer

adoption in the Bible

being different than others

not being afraid to try anything

trying to be good parents


Parenting and family Q&As
Kid Explorers
Adventures in the rainforest! Learn about the Creator of the universe by exploring His marvelous creation. Fun for the whole family with games, activities, stories, answers to children’s questions, color pages, and more! One of the Web’s first and most popular Christian Web sites for children. Nonprofit, evangelical, nondenominational.
Featuring: Jennifer GarnerCindy Green
Joel EdgertonJim Green
Dianne WiestMs. Crudstaff
David Morse … James Green Sr.
Rosemarie DeWitt … Brenda Best
Ron Livingston … Franklin Crudstaff
See all »
Director: Peter Hedges
Producer: Monsterfoot Productions
Scott Sanders Productions
Walt Disney Pictures
See all »
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures

“He’s a force of nature.”

“The Odd Life of Timothy Green” is a heartwarming film that tells the story of Jim and Cindy Green, a married couple, who want more than anything to be parents. After learning that their dream of having a baby will never happen, the heartbroken couple decide to entertain their dream of a child one final time by writing down all of the attributes and dreams they have for their child on pieces of paper. Jim and Cindy place the pieces of paper in a box and bury their hope of a child in their garden. Much to their surprise, a 10-year-old boy named Timothy emerges from their garden after a heavy rainstorm. Timothy explains that he is meant for them. Jim and Cindy embrace the amazing miracle from their garden with love and excitement. Timothy touches the lives of everyone he encounters and helps Jim and Cindy learn from the mistakes they make as parents.

“The Odd Life of Timothy Green” is a clean and charming fairy tale with many important lessons that can be gleaned from the story and its overarching themes. The film’s central themes align themselves with many Christian ideologies regarding family and relationships. It offers a refreshing portrayal of a traditional two-parent family, who are in a loving and committed marriage. The roles of mother and father are held in the highest regard. This film’s central themes also emphasize that children are precious gifts to be cherished, and that sharing your love with a child is one of the most beautiful gifts of marriage.

The issue of being “different” is also addressed in the film. Timothy is not like the other kids. He has leaves growing out his legs and is clumsy on the soccer field.

This film can serve as a reminder to children that it is okay to be different and not conform to the ways of others around us. The character of Timothy wears his differences like a badge of honor and is proud of who he is. Timothy’s is a kind-hearted boy, who is like a ray of light in the darkness.

The film’s emphasis on being “different” and not conforming to the rest of the world can serve as a wonderful discussion starter for parents to talk with their children about what it means to be “different” as a Christian. We are called, as Christians, to be in the world but not of the world. Romans 12:12 tells us,

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

This film also touches upon the deep pain that so many childless couples experience, and it delves into the many mistakes that parents make along the journey of parenthood. As Christians, this film’s central themes also reminds us that God’s plans for our lives do not always happen when—and in the way—that we expect. We see Jim and Cindy learn from their mistakes and grow as a couple and parents. This film will probably be most enjoyed by slightly older children and their parents, due to the serious nature of some of the themes.

Cinematically, the film has an almost whimsical charm, with just the right balance of humor and drama. Young actor C.J. Adams brings the character of Timothy to life in a charming and nuanced performance, while Jennifer Garner and Joel Edergton deliver sincere performances as new parents, who want the best for their child.

I have very few bad things to say about “the Odd Life of Timothy Green.” The Lord’s name is misused approximately 4 or 5 times. Timothy kicks a girl, when she tries to remove his sock to see the leaves on his legs, but he feels bad about it, later. After Timothy develops a crush on a girl, his parents agree that it is time to have “the talk,” but they get interrupted before the can talk to him.

Spirituality and the concept of a higher power play an integral role in this film, however none of the spiritual themes in the film are attributed to God. The role of the “higher power’ in this movie is completely ambiguous, and, as a Christian viewer, I found myself filling in the blanks with God, where the story left God out entirely. While this film tells a touching and sincere story, the positive themes in this story lack some depth due to the complete absence of our Creator and Sustainer.

Overall, “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” is good choice for Christian viewers. It is a moving film with multi-dimensional characters that are brought to life in a touching story, which reflects many Christian ideals regarding marriage and family

Violence: Mild / Profanity: Minor—“Oh G_d” (3), “Oh dear G_d,” “hell” / Sex/Nudity: Minor

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—All in all, a very sweet movie, with very little objectionable about it; I recommend it. Not much to add to the reviewer’s comments; I think they were on target.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Jeremy, age 57 (USA)
Positive—It is unusual for a movie to be released mid-week, but this one opened Wednesday, and so I was able to go on opening day. I was quite pleased with this fantasy film and think it contains excellent messages. Like the story “Tuck Everlasting,” it is packaged in a family-type wrapping, but, in many ways, it is a folk tale for adults. There is a lot of symbolism that will be lost on younger children, and I think it can be watched by ALL, but appreciated more by older children and adults.

The film starts by dealing with the painful reality that many couples face when they are told they are not able to conceive children. In their grief, the couple writes on pieces of paper about what they had dreamed for their child. He’ll be artistic, he’ll score the winning goal in a game, he’ll be kind, and he’ll have all the qualities that they have themselves, etc. They bury these in a box in the garden, and, overnight, a miracle happens. The child they had dreamed of appears in their garden. This leads to interesting and humorous consequences. This movie has a number of lessons. Children can learn from how the story embraces the idea that it’s okay to be different. Having something unique about you is good, and you don’t need to be ashamed to show it. Also, moms and dads are human and are doing the best they can. Sometimes they make mistakes, but are figuring out a lot of things, as they go.

The deeper theme which is more likely to be appreciated by teens and adults is about how children are a gift that is not to be squandered. We see the various “pitfalls of parenting”, mistakes that parents make in real life. The parents are shown as well meaning, but making mistakes as they try to figure out what to do. Parenting is shown as a learning process, too! Also, the idea that we have only a certain amount of time with our children until they are grown and how opportunities can be lost, comes across very clearly. The child touches people’s lives, but his opportunity to do so has time limits, as childhood passes quickly. I think some children might be confused by some of the thematic elements, and not understand how what happens in the story is a stepping stone for the real happiness for the couple later on. So, I consider it to have a non-traditional happy ending.

The movie is very clean, and no foul language is used, that I could hear. One character says, “Oh, dear God” and I think the obnoxious sister character may have said God’s name once, quietly. I am very sensitive to such things, but was not offended by this movie, at all. The only thing about this story is that there is no praying or mention of God as being the reason for the miracle. For me, if they had asked God for a child, I would have been much happier. In the story, it appears to be magic, but we are not sure of how this happens. I found this movie to be quite moving and was thinking a lot about the story after I left the theatre. There are a lot of positive things to say about this film, and I would strongly recommend it. I, also, like how the couple has a loving marriage and treat each other with kindness and respect. It’s just so nice to see a clean movie that also contains depth that can be appreciated by people of all ages.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
Kathy Pj, age 52 (Canada)
Positive—My wife and I saw this movie, and both of us enjoyed it. The acting was very good. It is a bit of a fantasy movie, so it is not entirely believable, but a good story none-the-less. There was no objectionable content in it, with the possible exceptions of “Oh, my God” and a young girl’s bare midriff. Very tame by today’s standards. Touching movie. About as good as you can expect from Disney. Probably won’t hold the attention of younger children (under 7).
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Chris G, age 45 (USA)
Positive—Yeah sure, what happened in this movie obviously can never happen, however the movie was very good. Acting was incredible, and it kept me wondering what was going to happen next. Cried a few times, but laughed more. Cute flick!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
Samantha, age 37 (USA)
Positive—This was a great movie! I absolutely loved it! It was exceptionally squeaky clean without being kiddy. The magic was more of the mild fairy tale kind, and barely played a part at all. I have to admit, when I first heard about this movie, I thought it sounded like one of the strangest plots ever invented; but it actually worked quite well. The young actor who played Timothy was adorable, but it was the performances of Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton that made the movie. They were a treat to watch. I highly recommend this film!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
Kadie Jo, age 20 (USA)
Positive—I really enjoyed this movie. I found it to be very touching. I am a tree lover, as well, with a very obvious birth abnormality, so I guess I was able to relate to many of its themes, on numerous levels. I will likely buy this movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
Pam, age 45 (USA)
Positive—This was a very heartwarming and clean film. The cinematography was absolutely beautiful, and the actors did an amazing job conveying the tone of this story. I’ve seen it twice and have cried both times with my wife. Rent/buy this today and watch it for your upcoming family night!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
Hank, age 35 (USA)
Neutral—First, let me just say that I congratulate Disney for producing a clean family-friendly movie. Disney is slowly trying to regain, with the addition of this movie, the family-friendly title it used to have. Having said that, I enjoyed “The Odd Life of Timothy Green.” However, my problem with the film lies not with the acting, the lighting, etc. My problem with this movie lies with it’s plot. It wasn’t strong enough, in my opinion, and the ending, unfortunately, was a give-away from the very beginning of the film. It was, unfortunately, TOO obvious, but by no means should detract anyone from seeing this film. It’s a sweet, touching film, that I encourage parents to take their children to see. However, if you are looking for something with a stronger plot, this may not be it. Overall, not a bad film, but one that I would say only young children will want to see. Thanks, Disney.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 2½
Alexander Malsan, age 22 (USA)
Negative—This was an “odd” movie. It wasn’t only the life of Timothy that was odd, the whole movie was odd, with things that made no sense. I kept expecting it to be explained by the drinking done right before Timothy appeared. The relationship with the girl, Joni, was never explained. Who was she? One got the feeling she was also “other-worldly” and almost with mystical powers. I was disappointed in this film.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
Mary S., age 60 (USA)
Comments from young people
Neutral—There is nothing particularly bad or wrong in this movie, but it is a little odd, as the title warns, I suppose! I wouldn’t suggest this movie, because it’s pretty pointless. There are not really an subjective things I would point out, but I think there are better movies out there with a good moral and a point!
My Ratings: Moral rating: none / Moviemaking quality: 3
Rachel, age 14 (USA)
Neutral—Plot: Average. There are several plot holes, but none are too conspicuous. Technical: Well filmed. Great cinematography. Characters: Somewhat flat, in my opinion. I didn't connect with any of them. Age-Appropriateness: Appropriate for most children. One scene of implied nudity, but nothing graphic. Overall: I liked the concept, but not its execution.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
Noah, age 14 (USA)

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