The film is light on the movie magic, but heavy on human emotion.
"It's not a big FX film," Garner said. "It feels to me like an old-fashioned Disney film."
Garner said the film, co-written and directed by Peter Hedges ("Dan in Real Life," "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?"), follows several relationships in the film, which change as a child enters their lives. How he gets there is fantastical, but the result isn't.
"Everyone should recognize themselves somewhere in the movie," she said.
Garner, with three children of her own, is the furthest thing from childless, but she said she understood her character from the perspective of a first time mother.
"As a parent, I couldn't help but relate to her nervous energy, her first time out of a box and how she wanted to everything to go right and make sure her child was happy all the time and treated well by everyone else -- and that's not realistic, of course.
"You learn that pretty quickly, but a lot of the time you have to go through it to learn it."
The film, she believed, has a broad family appeal. Kids are supposed to think it's really a movie for them, and parents are supposed to think it's really a movie for them. Either way, she said, "The Odd Life of Timothy Green" is supposed to be for everybody. It's a family film about families, regardless of how the family is put together.
Garner said, "I didn't think the movie was trying to make a huge statement about adoption or foster care, but maybe it is. It's definitely pro-adoption, pro-foster care. It's definitely pro-making-a-family-however-you-can."
Reach Bill Lynch at ly...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.