We all know about Disney’s forays into animation and summer blockbusters, but we haven’t recently seen much in the way of sentimental family films released by the company, Disney Channel movies notwithstanding. In this summer of superheroes, animated comedies, and action thrill-rides, does this film even stand a chance?
The film stars Joel Edgerton and Jennifer Garner as a husband and wife that are told by doctors that they are unable to have children. As a measure to cope with the resulting devastation, the couple lists all of the attributes that they wanted their child to have onto a notepad and then lock the pad into a box and bury it in their garden. That night, after a freakish rainstorm, they find a young boy in their house by the name of Timothy, who has all the attributes they listed and calls them Mom and Dad.
The best way to describe this film is that it’s a hybrid of a Disney Channel TV movie with a Hallmark TV movie except with a higher budget that was spent hiring a good team of writers rather than on CGI. The story is very heart-warming and puts a surprising degree of focus on the parents rather than on the child, which is probably where most other studios would shift the focus. Rather than be a film about a magical boy and his adventures, it’s a film about how two people with their own sets of problems adjust to the struggles of parenthood as the duty is quite literally thrust upon them in a matter of days.
However, there are times where the story is a little ambiguous about certain things but that ambiguity seems to be more in line with how much the characters know about what’s going on. I had a few issues with that but they get points for keeping a fairly realistic scope on the events of the story.
The only problem I had with the story was how it would constantly bounce between the parents and Timothy. There are moments in the film where, if this film was supposed to be from the parent’s perspective, it shows us things that the parents never really learn about over the course of the story. It doesn’t even inform the audience what it is we’re supposed to learn from those scenes.
From a technical standpoint, this film does a really good job with what it’s limited to. It doesn’t try to make itself look like an independent film nor does it rub in your face the fact that it’s a high-budget production. The shots range from simple to complex without going overboard on what they are trying to show. The color scheme of the town is very active as things change over the course of the story and as the changing of the seasons from summer to autumn.
The music is where you get the “Hallmark” feel as you can tell the composer is trying their best but is fairly limited by what’s actually happening as there are no sweeping vistas or climaxes for which to accentuate the music. In fact, most of the really dramatic scenes are without music; as if the composer felt that it would cheapen those scenes.
Overall, this is still a pretty good film but I feel that Disney released this film at the wrong time. It’s as if Disney knows that this is the end of the summer movie season and that the film’s transition to autumn in the story makes the release symbolic, but this film should have been released around Thanksgiving rather than August. On my personal scale, I give “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” a 4/5.