Having seen The Odd Life of Timothy Green just a few days ago, I’ve been trying to put my finger on the pulse of the movie. There is so much wrapped into this compact, sweet, lovable, and quirky movie that I don’t feel that simple labels like “comedy” or “drama” are enough, though it clearly has elements of both. What shines through most in this movie though is its tremendous heart. There are in this movie no good guys, and no bad guys – there are just people behaving like… people, and yet their lives are all simply transformed by Timothy.
The story was conceived by Ahmet Zappa son of the singer, songwriter, and musician Frank Zappa. For Disney to put this out under their own brand rather than one of their subsidiaries says a lot about their trust for the material and Zappa. This trust goes back a few yeas to the creation of Kingdom Comics in 2008 which included a multi-year contract to create new films and rejuvenate old live-action Disney films by first releasing them in graphic novel form. This is the first new film to be released through this venture.
You are going to cry at this movie. There is no doubt. Some of those tears will be from laughing, some will be from sorrow. But many will come from that place you enter when you let yourself go in the magic of a moment and realize how amazing the world would be if things always could just work this way. To be able to put our wishes, our hopes and our dreams into a box and have them come true… even if only for a short while.
Those who love the art of storytelling will almost immediately pick up on the O. Henry styling of the story. There is a twist to the tale, it’s not hidden – the trailers for the movie already give it away. But the twist is designed to deliver a message and that’s what’s important. Life is fleeting. We are here for a moment, and then we’re gone. But it’s what we do with that moment. The way in which the lives of those whose lives intertwine with our own are affected by that which we do and the choices that we make. In the end, this is what matters – so make them count.
The moments of impact Timothy gets to make, are not ones that are chosen for him. But when they come he accepts them and embraces them all. Makes the best of the moment for good or for ill. And with that he transforms the lives of those around him in a way that has no other description than magic. But it’s not in your face magic. No, rather it’s the sort of subtle magic that is administered by Mary Poppins or comes riding in on a tornado from Oz. Right down to magical storms and whimsical winds.
Despite being a family movie, I can’t say that this movie is for everyone. Some of the themes that run through this are deep and may require explanation to your children. The emotions in this movie are strong – it could be as much as a two box movie depending on the viewer. And many people like to avoid that sort of thing. This movie is also not without its flaws, but at the same time few are worth nitpicking. However, if you can be accepting of a little magic running its course, then I highly recommend seeing this movie.
As much as I’d like to give a star rating for this movie now, you will have to wait until August 27th when I release Episode 86 of the Disney Film Project Podcast for that and a more thorough review.