In many ways, Disney’s latest family film The Odd Life of Timothy Green defies genres in the current movie marketplace, harkening back to the family-focused films of days gone by. It’s a family movie about a family. It’s not geared towards children per se, but it is absolutely a family film, with a story line and themes that will entertain both kids and parents. It’s not a kid’s film that adults will merely tolerate, nor is it an adult film that children won’t relate to. It reminded me of Disney’s Sunday Night Movies I watched with my parents as a child.
The magical and quirky aspects of Timothy will appeal to children, while parents will connect with his parents Cindy and Jim Green, who are dealing with the same existential concern for their child as any parent. The movie explores themes familiar to all parents: school bullies, watching a child in competitive sports, childhood romance and heartbreak as well as negotiating work/life balance. Adoptive families and couples who have experienced fertility with further relate to this film, which deals with the emotional complexities of both life issues. It could be a great discussion-starter for adoptive families, and could provide children with a fuller understanding of the longing for a child that prompts many parents to adopt.
I took my five-year-old daughter to see the movie and she and I really enjoyed it. But before you buy your ticket, you may need to contemplate your child's maturity level and whether or not they are old enough to enjoy a movie with some grown-up themes. I'm going to try to do my best to break down the areas of concerns that parents might have without giving away any spoilers.
There are some magical/supernatural elements to the movie, but it is not scary. Smaller children may be confused by some of the fantasy elements, especially because the rest of the movie is rather realistic. There are some existential themes in the movie, including death and grief, that may be troubling for small children.
There is very little violence in the film. A boy kicks a girl in the head, leaving a bruise on her face, and in another scene a boy gets bullied at school,. In both instances, there are repercussions for the actions and the violence is portrayed as something negative.
In terms of curse words, there is one use of the word “hell” in The Odd Life of Timothy Green.
There is nothing questionable. The parents portray a loving husband and wife relationship.
In my opinion, this movie is appropriate for most children over 5, but may not appeal to kids until they are a bit older. There are not a lot of action sequences to hold the attention of a younger child. I would enthusiastically recommend this movie to families with school-aged children, pre-teens, and teenagers.. I also think it’s a great movie for a date night or a girl’s night out. Fair warning, though. Bring tissues. There was not a dry eye in the theater at the screening I attended.
The Odd Life of Timothy Green, opens in theaters this Wednesday, August 15