Peter Hedges

The Odd Life of Timothy Green Review

A loving couple who are unable to bear their own children imagine all the wonderful traits their offspring would possess and, drunk on equal parts wine and heartbreak, write down those traits, tuck them in a box, and bury them in their garden. It’s their attempt to finally lay to rest their dreams of having a little one, and it’s meant to be the final word on their journey to parenthood. And then something apparently magical happens, and their box (coupled with some suspect rain) sprouts into, of all things, a child. Their child, who emerges from the ground, muddy and plucky and school-aged (and sprouting leaves), sneaks into their house (and bed), and changes every single element of their lives. If The Odd Life of Timothy Green was edited even a smidgen differently, it would be one heck of a horror film. However, Peter Hedges‘ Timothy Green comes to us from Walt Disney Pictures and, in the vein of their non-animated family features like Enchanted, The Princess Diaries, and The Parent Trap, it’s a sudsy outing that hammers home all manner of sterling bits of life advice and will (at the very least) serve to entertain the entire family. It’s also absolutely bizarre, insane to the point that the “story by Ahmet Zappa” credit starts making sense within the film’s first ten minutes.

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Aural Fixation - Large

It’s in the title – The Odd Life of Timothy Green is, well, odd. But it is those oddities and the unexpected twists and turns that make this story memorable. Timothy (CJ Adams) is not your average child so bringing this character and his world to life required composer Geoff Zanelli to think outside of the box. Organic materials like dirt, wood, and leaves (of course) play a big part in not just Timothy, but all the character’s lives (and their futures) so it is no surprise that Zanelli took a more stripped down and inventive approach when creating the music for this film. Zanelli’s score is both magical and jaunty, much like Timothy himself, and creates a unique texture that helps make some of the more “out there” moments of the film still feel grounded in real emotion. I spoke with Zanelli about how he approached creating this score, what inspired him throughout the process, and what went in to creating music that sounded both familiar and new.

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Earlier today, the international trailer for We Need to Talk About Kevin showed us that a child raised in a seemingly normal environment could still end up a horrifying, dead-eyed sociopath with a panache for porn. Lynne Ramsay’s Cannes film swiftly removed any hope that human spawn could be charming or cuddly – so let’s chuck ‘em all and turn to something a bit more organic. After all, there’s nothing more hip than locally grown produce, so why not some locally grown kids? You liked the Cabbage Patch Kids when you were younger, right? Enter Disney’s The Odd Life of Timothy Green. The film is billed as “an inspiring, magical story about a happily married couple who bury a box in their backyard, containing all of their wishes for an infant. Soon, their child is born, though Timothy Green is not all that he appears.” That’s right, in this film, Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton can’t have children, so they write down everything they’d want for the kid they can never have, toss those wishes into a box, bury it in their garden, and act like it’s totally normal when a mud-covered elementary schooler shows up in their house during a hefty rainstorm. I know we’re doing great things with soybeans right now, but this is too much – there’s a big difference between a tofu burger and a garden-grown kid. Cue some stuff that looks like Powder fell in with some slow food hippies, and boom! there’s The Odd […]

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Dan in Real Life

The movie is half-understated, intimate comedy, while the other half tends to veer into screwball comedy territory. There’s no excuse for Peter Hedges to take a story that should be a character study of what it’s like for a middle-aged man raising three daughters on his own and film it like Meet the Parents mixed with Wedding Crashers.

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dan-2.jpg

Actor Steve Carell and comedian Dane Cook have one distinct thing in common — in the year 2007, they have each made for which they were completely wrong. Thankfully they’ve both found a movie that was absolutely perfect for them — and it just happens to be the same film.

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published: 12.22.2014
C-
published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-


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