Director: Peter Hedges
Writers: Peter Hedges and Ahmet Zappa
Cast: Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton, CJ Adams, David Morse, Rosemarie DeWitt and M. Emmet Walsh
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
The Greens have left key portions of their paperwork empty — the parts concerning prior experience and why they would make good parents. For that, Jim and Cindy decide to recount the odd life of Timothy Green. From there, we see, in flashback, Jim and Cindy being told by a doctor that Cindy cannot get pregnant. The couple go home to cry about it, but Jim doesn’t want to give up. So, he puts all the wishes he’s had for a children on paper and encourages Cindy to do the same. They bury the wishes in a box in a hole in the garden. A strange rain storm hits. When Jim and Cindy investigate, they find a mysterious boy covered in mud in the room they’d set aside for the kid that would never be born. And he has a big secret — he’s got leaves growing out of his ankles, leaves so strong and natural that local florist Reggie breaks his shears trying to snip them.
Afterward, the story goes in a whirlwind. Timothy is introduced to the rest of the family — Cindy’s sister Brenda, Uncle Bub, Uncle Mel and Jim’s dad, Big Jim — as well as friends. It’s here we see the effects of the editing as the introductions of these characters is missing, leaving us a bit confused. We know Jim and Big Jim don’t see eye to eye but we get no real sense of the tension. We learn Brenda is more successful than Cindy and has three kids but we can’t get a feel for the sibling rivalry.
The highly emotional might want to attend this movie with friends or alone depending on your style. This film is also somewhat predictable and one can start to pick up on things, especially the ending, from the first deed Timothy does. Although the movie is funny in places, don’t expect a comedy full of one liners and slapstick moments. Yes there are a few awkward conversations and movements that bring up a laugh, but that’s about it as this movie takes more of the spiritual drama side.
This opening weekend of the film has been dotted with videos of kids sobbing after seeing the film. I can’t say that the sentiment is that far off. This film is emotionally brave in a way that Disney hasn’t approached since the Cold War. Too often, we’ve come to expect jokes and shorter films. Now, we’re getting what we deserve. Brave new films that treat kids to a compassionate view of the world that doesn’t talk down to them.
RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW!