The Odd Life of Timothy Green is about a small town couple played by Joel Edgerton and Jennifer Garner. They can’t conceive a child. So they write the characteristics of their dream child on a piece of paper and bury it in a box in their garden. Then a violent storm comes at night and a dirt-covered creature goes inside the couple’s house.
This is not a horror movie. The garden monster is Timothy Green (CJ Adams), a young boy with elfin features. But his lifespan is short. At the beginning Jim and Cindy Green speak of Timothy in the past tense.
Timothy is also not just a figment of their imagination. The townspeople recognize him. The town is made up of caricatures of middle class Americans. There is Cindy’s hypercompetitive sister (Rosemarie DeWitt), Jim’s demanding but emotionally distant father (David Morse) and the gruff soccer coach (Common). Jim works for the pencil factory while Cindy works as guide in the pencil museum. The townspeople treat Timothy Green horribly except for Joni (Odeya Rush), who is a loner who falls in love with him.
Jennifer Garner emotes a lot as if she’s acting not just for herself but also for her onscreen husband, Joel Edgerton. The latter mumbles and looks at his feet a lot. As a couple, Jim and Cindy confess in the adoption interview that they made a lot of mistakes with Timothy. They said that they are sensitive, non-programmatic parents.
But in reality, they are narcissists and are not competent to manage human interactions with their temporary son. Timothy might not be human but he is more human than most of the townspeople, including his adoptive parents. He teaches the viewers to be better. Through his presence, he manages to make people around him nicer.
The Odd Life of Timothy Green is based on a story by Ahmet Zappa. It is written and directed by Peter Hedges and released by Walk Disney Pictures.