Starring: Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton, CJ Adams, Odeya Rush, David Morse, Rosemarie DeWitt, Dianne Wiest, Ron Livingston, Lois Smith and M Emmet Walsh.
Running time: 1hr 45mins.
THIS is a heartfelt and occasionally cloying fable that asks you to buy into its fantastical premise without any intention of tethering the underlying themes of parenthood and selflessness to reality.
As long as you accept Hedges’s version of events, his film possesses undeniable sweetness and charm.
Once you probe the kinks in the script, the spell is quickly broken.
Jim Green (Edgerton) and his wife Cindy (Garner) want a child but they are unable to conceive.
So one night, they decide to write down the characteristics of their perfect child and then bury the box containing these pieces of paper in their back garden.
A freak thunder storm leads to the blossoming of a boy called Timothy (Adams).
They happily introduce the boy to their dysfunctional family, which includes Jim’s domineering father Big Jim (Morse) and Cindy’s sister Brenda (DeWitt).
Timothy is a loving, caring innocent who touches the hearts of everyone he meets, even Cindy’s self-obsessed boss, Bernice (Wiest).
The boy is especially drawn to a girl called Joni (Rush), who possesses an infectious lust for life.
Their tender friendship plays out as Jim and Cindy learn more about Timothy and the reason he has taken root in their humdrum lives.
Characters are well drawn and colourfully embodied by the strong supporting cast.