Film Review: The Odd Life of Timothy Green, With Odeya Rush Interview

We had the opportunity to screen The Odd Life of Timothy Green last month, and to interview one of it's young stars, Odeya Rush last week. Here is our review from the film, and our interview with this up-and-coming actress follows!

Image 

Jim and Cindy Green (Joel Edgerton and Jennifer Garner) are an all-American couple living in a small, all-American town called Stanleyville, struggling with an issue so many of us can understand, the longing to have a child while being infertile. Once they learn that there is nothing more they can do, Jim and Cindy drive back to their rambling farmhouse, where Jim suggests that they “have a kid” – but not literally. The couple takes out a pad of paper and list all of the qualities they would want in their own child, including being “honest to a fault”. Slipping the pieces of paper gently into a box, Jim and Cindy take the box to the backyard and bury their dreams of a child. A strong storm brings their dream to life, as a young boy bathed in mud appears in their home.

“Hi, I’m Timothy”.

Timothy (C.J. Adams) isn’t just any boy, he has all of the qualities that they’ve wanted in a child – although sometimes the wishes they squirreled away in the box don’t come true in the way that Jim and Cindy dreamed them.

There are a few oddities to Timothy, most notably being the green leaves growing out of his legs. And while we are learning about Timothy, so is an adoption agency that Jim and Cindy are pleading with  – we hear the unlikely story as the agency does. The outcome of the story isn’t hidden from the viewer early on, although I won’t reveal it here.

Timothy is adorable and bright, but is bullied at school for his differences. It does take some stretch of the imagination to think he’d be accepted to school without a birth certificate or any paperwork just showing that he’s lived. But young C.J. Adams lights up the screen anytime he’s on it, as does Jennifer Garner – it’s hard not to just embrace the earnestness of this whole family.

Timothy befriends a young girl named Joni (Odeya Rush), who also is different in her own way (aren’t we all?) There is too much of an age difference for a romance, but it eventually becomes a solid friendship born of understanding their unique qualities. And just a side note – I think we’ll be seeing a lot of Odeya Rush, as well as C.J. Adams in the future.

Image 

It is hard to know which part of The Odd Life of Timothy Green required the most suspension of disbelief, but possibly the factory scene at the end. During the time that Timothy is with Jim and Cindy, the pencil factory Jim works for is sinking financially. Timothy actually has a big hand in the outcome, and it all has to do with leaves.

The film is shot with a beautiful autumn backdrop, a time when leaves turn brown and fall off trees..as well as off a young boy (the latter somehow unbeknownst to his family).

There is a terrific supporting cast that includes Dianne Wiest, M. Emmet Walsh and Rosemarie DeWitt.

My recommendation? The Odd Life of Timothy Green is a beautiful film about embracing our differences, but with some loose ends.

Mousesteps grade: B-

The Odd Life of Timothy Green is directed by Peter Hedges (Dan in Real Life) from a story written by Ahmet Zappa.

—–

Mousesteps Interview with Odeya Rush (Joni from The Odd Life of Timothy Green)

 

Image 

 

MS: In just a few short years, your career has taken off. How did it feel when you won the role in The Odd Life of Timothy Green?

OR: I was estactic. I mean, I called everyone (downstairs).I have a big family, and everyone came downstairs, and we were jumping up and down. It was very exciting.

MS: How did you find out that you’d won the role?

OR: Peter (Director Peter Hedges) called me. He called my father, who said “Odeya, you have a phone call”. And then Peter offered me the role, (here, Odeya gives us a high pitched “yeah!”) – that’s what happened.

MS: When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in acting?

OR: I’ve always loved performing. I’ve loved acting for a very long time, ever since I was a young girl. When I was younger – I have four younger brothers – I used to sit them on the step and perform in front of them.

MS: There are some intense moments in the film, including with Jennifer Garner
(as Cindy Green). What did you do to lighten the mood on the set in between scenes?

OR: Jennifer (Garner) herself is such an open, joyful, easygoing person. We didn’t have to try to lighten things up – just her personality, her light that surrounds her…

MS: What was it like working with Jennifer Garner?

OR: Obviously, she’s an incredible person. I had a lot of fun with her.

MS: What are you currently working on now?

OR: I have a film I’d doing called Mary, Mother of Christ, where I will be playing the title role of Mary. It’s with Ben Kingsley and Peter O’Toole.

MS: What is your favorite scene in The Odd Life of Timothy Green?

OR: I really enjoyed filming the underwater scene, because we learned how to scuba dive and it was just really neat.

MS: If you had such a noticeable difference to everyone like Timothy (and yourself) in the film, would you hide it or share it?

OR: After watching the film, I’d feel more confident. I’d want to share it. I feel like being honest is a wonderful trait and is something you should embrace.

MS: Why type of films do you most enjoy?

OR: I think everything. I enjoy comedies, I love to laugh especially through films. Films like this (The Odd Life of Timothy Green) that are so touching, that after I watch them, I want to go back and see it again. I know that there are all these things that I can learn each time I watch them.

Odeya Rush moved from Israel to Alabama when she was 9 years old. Her favorite part of the United States? New York.