A Parent’s Guide to The Odd Life of Timothy Green

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

The Odd Life of Timothy Green by Peter Hedges (Director)

Type: Adoption, Family

Basic Plot: Jim and Ml Green write down all the traits they desire in a child and bury it in a box after they are told it is impossible to have their own child. That night, a boy appears in their home claiming to be their son.


Plot: 3/5 Average: The story was a mixture of sweetness and predictability. The story had a good emotional appeal, especially to people who are parents. The main characters find themselves emotional distraught over not being able to have a child, and then going through the many ups and downs of being a parent. This tender side of the story is made dull though with its predictability. After the first few minutes, one kind of knows that Timothy is going to fulfill the things his parents wrote about him, as well as kind of guess the ultimate end, considering the story is told by people retelling the past.

Scenery and Costumes: 3/5 Average: The scenery and costumes were extremely realistic. They were the kind of homes, jobs, and clothes I could imagine my friends and family being surrounded by, but not to the point of being ugly or dull.

Moral: 2/5 Unclear Morals: The movie seemed to be subtly pushing several things all at once. One of them was accepting differences, as Timothy is bullied and mocked for doing odd things, such as pretending to soak in the sun. Acceptance is a touchy subject among Christians today, as to what line is accepting a person that is merely different versus accepting sinful activity, though I do not believe the movie promotes such. This moral is probably the most pushed of all, though not too clear. No other morals are pushed so much as vaguely brushed over, such as overcoming the various obstacles of parenting and being honest no matter what. Timothy’s parents can easily be seen as over dramatic, emotionally unstable, and not knowing what they are doing, though this could all be just perspective.

Overall: 3/5 Average: While not a bad movie, this is not a movie I would ever go out of my way to watch again. The story might be dull for children, though adults may appreciate its tender moments. I think adults and children between the ages of nine and fourteen would like it best.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 1/5 Suggestive Content: Underwater, a boy looks like he expects a girl to kiss him. A boy and a girl hug. A boy is standing in nothing but a towel. Girls wear swim shorts and top that show their shoulders and midriff, and a woman’s nightgown shows most of her shoulders. Boys are shirtless and wear shorts that show above the knee. Some parents say they planned to give their son “the talk,” but could not. It is possible, as from what is shown later, that this means dating and nothing sexual. A married couple kisses twice. A man holds his wife by the shoulders as they sleep in bed.

Violence: 1½/5 Some Violence: Underwater, a boy kicks a girl in the head. Characters are hit on the head with dodge balls and smacked on the head.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 1/5 One Misuse: Hell is misused once. God’s name is taken in vain once.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 2/5 Emotional Moments: A key character disappears as the lights go out, leaving the front door swinging open. An elderly man dies and his body is shown, though the death itself is not, only characters rushing into a room. A boy gets in a soccer accident and hurts his leg. Boys bully a kid by covering him in food. Characters cry dramatically over bad news. Someone says that a person “won’t live to see their next birthday.” A team is called the “Bone Crushers.”

Religious Issues: ½/5 Brief Appearance: There is one brief reference to a Catholic hospital. A woman’s Halloween costume is mentioned once.

Magic: 2/5 Vague Use: The main character mysteriously comes out of the ground and disappears in a flash of lightning. He has leaves growing on his legs. Though never explicitly stated, it is assumed to be by some kind of magic.

Others: People dance. A man and woman drink wine, and a woman asks another if her husband is drunk because he said something strange. Some parents say they want their child to “rock,” and later play a song with him using vocals and tapping surfaces.

Overall: 2/5 Child Appropriate: The emotional content and violence may make some parents want to wait until their children are nine or ten before watching this movie.


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