MESSAGE IN THE MOVIES
Photo By Walt Disney Pictures
Directed by Peter Hedges. Starring Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton.
Odd is right. This Disney fantasy concerns Jim and Cindy (Hedges and Garner), a childless couple who have been unsuccessful in starting a family. They face their barrenness by writing down on pieces of paper their wish list for a perfect child and then burying it in their backyard. While they are sleeping, out from the garden pops Timothy (C. J. Adams) (so that is where babies come from!), a 10-year-old boy ready for a home and lots of love.
Well, that’s what he’s going to get, because his new parents dote on his every word and action, even when he gets them into many embarrassing situations. Timothy is innocent, after all, and unacquainted with Earthling ways. This is kind of a pint-sized Starman (John Carpenter’s 1984 film about an alien taking on human form and learning about life) in which a little kid from a distant place helps everyone learn how to be better persons. At one point, Timothy even shepherds an older man on his deathbed in a gentle way.
Make no mistake – Timothy is no Christ figure. He’s just a combination of perfect qualities mixed in an imperfect fashion. I still haven’t quite figured out why or how Timothy made a difference in the townspeople in this movie, but the film says that he did, so I’m accepting it.
One of the truly strange subplots involves the future of the local pencil factory, and whether or not the town’s pencil museum will be allowed to continue. I won’t spoil the suspense here.
Timothy faces a great deal of intolerance from kids in school, but befriends only one person in the entire movie: Joni (Odeya Rush), an older girl who is also a bit of a recluse. Timothy seems to be content just hanging around grownups, but then he is an only child.
I found myself incredibly irritated at the parents and how Timothy served as a projection of their own wishes for a child. Most of all, I never felt much actual pleasure in viewing this whimsical “family” film. Timothy isn’t given much of a personality, and the story moves too slowly and unconvincingly to keep a child’s interest.
I’m wishing this were a better movie. Maybe if I take this movie’s film reel (or digital drive) and bury it in the backyard…
Two halos: A strange and odd film indeed, but it is nevertheless big-hearted in its own peculiar way
Two pitchforks For insensitive childish truthfulness, unbearably sensitive parents, and a closing scene that might upset younger children, if they are still awake.
Rev. Bruce Batchelor-Glader
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