TIM was taken from a novel by Colleen McCullough as pet project for Michael Pate, an Australian actor who spent 18 years in Hollywood films before returning Down Under, where he wrote, produced and directed this in 1979.
It’s a gentle drama about a developmentally disabled young man who is befriended by a mature, middle-aged woman. They develop a close relationship that weathers not only the gap between their intellects, but sibling rivalry and family tragedy. As a producer, Pate did a pretty good job; the packaging is smooth. His writing varies from naturalistic and effective to simplistic and sudsy. On direction, apart from letting Eric Jupp overplay his hand on the music score, he was on-target, getting fine performances from Mel Gibson and Piper Laurie. He was 23, she was 47.
Even better, and really giving the film its greatest heart, humor and hurt are Alwyn Keyes and Pat Evison as Tim’s parents: they’re both splendid. Death in the family, a matter often handled superficially in films, is wrought particularly well here. The 108 minute picture is not a complete success, but its strong points and sincerity make it worth a look. With Peter Gwynne, Deborah Kennedy and David Foster.