August 19, 2012 -- This is an old-fashioned Disney family comedy about a kid who looks human, but actually is a kind of kid-plant hybrid, grown in a garden from a kind of wish-fulfilment seed. He's not a perfect kid and his parents aren't perfect parents, but it turns out they were made for each other. It becomes a very touching story with a tear-jerker ending.
This movie is a near opposite of a movie like “No Country for Old Men” which has a very negative view of life. This story is very positive. I happen to like positive stories, and I think positive stories are much needed in these hard economic times, just as they were needed in the Great Depression during the 1930s. Unless you are cynical, this is a movie that will warm your heart.
The parents, despondent that they can't have their own children due to medical problems, put down all their hopes and dreams for a dream child on pieces of paper in a wooden box and bury it in the garden, and plan to move on with their lives. By magic, a young boy appears out of the garden and the three people become a family, the father, Jim Green (played by Joel Edgerton of “Warrior,” the mother, Cindy Green (Jennifer Garner of “The Invention of Lying”) and the child from the garden, Timothy (C.J. Adams of “Dan in Real Life”).
Jim and Cindy have no experience as parents, of course, and Timothy is not a normal boy. He has leaves growing on his legs, for one thing. The family muddles along as best it can, making plenty of mistakes along the way. Like most parents, Jim and Cindy want to avoid the mistakes their parents made, but they also project their hopes and dreams on Timothy.
It turns out that the hopes and dreams the parents wrote on those scraps of paper in the box in the garden are built into Timothy's DNA, as it were, but the reality of Timothy's talents are never quite what the parents expected, resulting in some minor disasters and funny episodes, particularly in Timothy's big soccer game.
This entire story is told in flashbacks, so there are two different time frames at work in the story. There is the story of Timothy, which is in the past, and the story which takes place in the present, which is a bit different. The ending of the film is quite touching.
In addition to the positive characters, who include Timothy and his parents, along with Timothy's friend, Joni Jerome (Odeya Rush) there are plenty of negative characters, bullies and vain, small-minded people in positions of authority. The pencil factory that is the economic heart of the small town where they all live is on the verge of collapse and that grim fate hangs over much of the story, but the film remains largely positive.
Of course the film is based on a fantasy and is thus not believable, but it still relevant because most of the characters in the film are believable. It has a lesson to teach about parenthood and reasonable expectations for children. It also has some beautiful outdoor cinematography. This is really a very nice movie. It rates a B.
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