In Dallas, it’s still a bit toasty. Although the summer maintained its unseasonably cool label, we still live in Texas. So on a hot Labor Day, what’s a family to do? Go to the movies with every other air-condition-seeking family.
Loaded up with popcorn, candy & Slurpees we made our way to the 1:40 showing of The Odd Life of Timothy Green. We didn’t know much about it, but listened to our friends at Focus on the Family’s Plugged In who gave it a “5 out of 5” for family friendly rating. We hesitated a moment when realizing that the only seats available for our rather large crew were on the 2nd row, but how can you say no to Jack’s big brown eyes staring up at you while he’s balancing his Slurpee the size of his body and the popcorn snack within reach if he sits down. So we stepped over everyone, promised to stay seated and braced ourselves for an inevitable 2nd-row crick in the neck.
Oh my word… who knew the treat that was in store?! Get over the weirdness of the movie’s subject matter – a kid with leaves growing from his ankles – and sink into beautiful story. Life lesson after life lesson go down just as Mary Poppins would appreciate, with the most delightful taste of sugar. From the minute the audience meets the Jim & Cindy, we’re drawn into their life and ache with them as they lean into the fact that it just isn’t what they had dreamed or hoped for. We cry with them (okay so I cried and cried and cried), dream with them and settle in with them as they leave the hopes behind and determine to continue down the road, one foot in front of the other. Until the dream comes alive in a way no one expects – because it’s a movie – so who cares if the kid has leaves growing from his ankles – in the form of Timothy.
Which leads us down one of so many of the sweet, not slammed down your throat, encouragements … who cares if you’re different? Who cares if your kid is different? We all are different – some of us in more acceptable ways than others. How do we embrace and celebrate the differences? Or, how do we hide them?
At the end of the day, Timothy reminds us that life is too short to crater to all the pressures we and society put on us every minute of the day. And he gently reminds us that there’s so much more beneath the surface.
Here’s what PluggedIn had to say:
The Odd Life of Timothy Green is an odd but beautiful rumination on what it means to be a parent. As a constructed story, it has its shortcomings. As a hazy, rosy reflection of parenthood, it’s often quite emotional—and encouraging. We tell our kids it’s OK to make mistakes: It’s how we learn, we say. But often, we don’t give ourselves the same license. Truth is, parents are just as imperfect as kids, and as much as we try to teach our children the paths to walk and the pits to avoid, we’re not just teaching them. We’re learning too—sometimes with them, sometimes even from them.
In all of that the movie doesn’t undermine parental authority. It merely acknowledges that being a mom or a dad is still more art than science—something we get better at as we go, and something that is utterly unaltered by whether your child is biologically linked to you or not.
It’s a double bonus that a film so much about family makes it easy for the whole family to watch together. Timothy Green is almost completely devoid of problematic content, and it’s a rare circumstance for a wide-release, live-action film to be this clean, this instructive and this enjoyable.
And when they say for the whole family, they aren’t kidding. Kudos to Disney for putting a quality film at our fingertips.
So there you have it – an unsolicited movie review. If you go see it, I hope you’re encouraged. You might want to grab some extra napkins. Let’s just say I more than embarrassed my kids with the amount of tears flowing from my eyes. I just might have audibly sobbed.
Thanks for walking the road with me.