We got a sneak peek of a charming new film last week, and recommend that you spend a few hours of magic with The Odd Life of Timothy Green. The latest offering from Peter Hedges (About a Boy) is not only a heartwarming family film but, in a timely way, also glorifies the season of Autumn. From start to finish, the movie features richly turning leaves, gardens ready for harvest, and costumes in warm browns and reds. Instead of focusing on the tasks of school ahead, your child might be distracted by the fun and beauty of Fall.
The story is a fable aimed clearly at the heart of the elementary school-aged set, though shared through the eyes of adults. Cindy (Jennifer Garner) and Jim Green (Joel Edgerton) dream of being parents but are told it isn’t medically possible. After a night of writing down all the great things their kid could have been, Cindy and Jim bury those slips of paper in their backyard and decide to move on with their lives. Instead, a young boy covered in dirt, who possesses all the qualities they had wished for, appears in the middle of the night. This is Timothy. Cindy and Jim navigate the tough world of new parenthood, while young Timothy (CJ Adams) deals with the equally complicated world of school and friends, including finding a love interest.
Timothy is undeniably different than other children. Leaves grow from his ankles and he likes to stand outside, arms akimbo, to receive the sun’s rays. In keeping with the beloved genre of gentle aliens, he has much to teach those whose lives he touches, most notably his parents. The many ways that Timothy is different – he struggles with sports, he’s adopted, and there are those leaves – are also the elements that help us realize that we are all the same. Timothy Green‘s refreshing message is always worth sharing with a new generation of film-goers: by receiving and giving love we grow a greater sense of tolerance and understanding.
Now, that’s a nice way to start the school year.
While the premise might sound like a tearjerker, Olivier Nakache’s The Intouchables is, in fact, a hilarious and heartwarming film. The true story of a rich tetraplegic and his helper from the rough side of Paris, The Intouchables delights us by portraying the fun dynamic relationship between the two men, instead of playing up the melodramatic aspects that its premise would suggest. Without giving too much away, wealthy Phillipe shows his caregiver Driss the finer things in life, while Driss shows Phillipe that the finer things might not be so fine, after all. Parents, beware: there is marijuana smoking and frequent (albeit very funny) discussion of sex. We recommend the film for middle or high school kids, and adults won’t want to miss it! The Intouchables is France’s 2nd most viewed film of all time, and it was voted the French cultural event of 2011.
Moonrise Kingdom is just as quirky and original as one would expect from director Wes Anderson, but it’s story makes it particularly fun for middle or high school aged teens. Set in the early sixties, the story follows young boyscout Sam and social outcast Suzy, as the two run away and explore the wilderness surrounding their New England town. The quick dialogue and beautiful scenery make for an entertaining film, and the deeper themes of adventure and growing up will resonate with teens and adults alike.