Every weekend, parents around the country are faced with deciding if the movies playing at the multiplex are “safe” for their children to watch. Usually, “safe” translates to a G or PG rating. But, as any former child can tell you, some G-and-PG-rated movies geared for children can end up being the most traumatic moviegoing experiences of all.
Case in point, this weekend’s The Odd Life of Timothy Green. (Warning: SPOILERS follow, but parents may appreciate the advance warning!) The film follows Cindy and Jim Green (Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton), a married couple struggling to start a family, who one night bury a box in their backyard filled with their dearest hopes and dreams for their imagined child. Soon after, young Timothy Green (CJ Adams) pops up on their doorstep. He’s got leaves growing out of his ankles, and he seems preternaturally capable of fulfilling his adopted parents’ aforementioned dearest hopes and dreams.
But as the title of the film directly implies, Timothy Green’s time on the planet is finite. That development proved just too emotionally overwhelming for at least two young boys who saw the movie this weekend; their devastation was so touching — and, let’s face it, hilarious – that their parents couldn’t help but record it and post it to YouTube. Check it out below:
First of all, Disney has a brilliant new marketing campaign on their hands: “It was SUPER SAD!” says one critic! “There were so many happy and sad moments!” says another!
But witnessing these boys parents’ help them talk through their sorrow, I was most reminded of my own blubbering reaction to the harrowing climax of 1983′s Superman III: An evil supercomputer grows sentient and absorbs one of the film’s villains (Annie Ross) inside it, transforming her into a cyborg. When I saw the movie for the first time in our family’s basement as a six-year-old kid, this scene left me thoroughly horrified. And when the supercomputer later tried to absorb Superman and turn him into a cyborg, it proved way too much for me to bear. I raced upstairs to my father, incoherent with tears, until he coaxed me back down to the basement, where he stood by the TV as I watched huddled on the stairs until I saw that Superman did indeed triumph over evil.
I don’t know if another sequence from a feature film has more deeply affected me to this day. Watching it now, the adult part of me can recognize how cheap and silly it all actually plays. But it also leaves me with a pit of anxiety in my stomach that I know will stay with me for hours (at least).