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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 20.43%
Average: 19.35%
Pretty Bad: 11.83%
Total Crap: 17.2%

7 reviews, 51 user ratings

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Bridge to Terabithia
[] Buy posters from this movie
by U.J. Lessing

"A children's book that's faithful to the book?! Has hell frozen over?!"
4 stars

A few weeks ago, I expressed my anger at the filmmakers behind “Charlotte’s Web” for failing to appreciate the author’s true vision. That film focused on marketable crass humor and overused simplistic values, and after seeing the preview for “Bridge to Terabithia” I feared similar results. The misleading preview offered moviegoers a shoddy version of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”: certainly not anything resembling Paterson’s incredible tale of friendship and loss. How satisfying it is to be proved wrong!

“Bridge to Terabithia” is a poignant retelling of Katherine Paterson’s visionary book, and the credit goes to a perfect collaboration between the director, the writers, and the two leads. This gentle children’s film takes on very serious content with confidence and wisdom.

The tale introduces us to Jess (Josh Hutcherson), a child struggling through junior high school. He doesn’t receive (or ask for) any attention from his parents or sisters, struggles with bullies at school, and uses drawing and art to cope with the stressors in his life. His character will immediately be familiar to all children (and introspective adults): every child at one point or another feels completely alone in the world.

Enter Leslie (Annasophia Robb) a transfer student from another school. She’s a confident child with talents that are recognized by the adults in her world. Her creativity and spirit are off-putting to other children. In reality, her maturity stretches well beyond her years. But to her peers, she’s simply the girl without a TV set who can run really fast.

Right away Leslie is drawn to Jess, despite his inability to connect with anyone. She immediately recognizes the special qualities within him, and draws him out of his melancholy. What child wouldn’t want a friend like Leslie to enter their life? Together, they use the forested land behind their properties to create a fantasy world where they develop their friendship and share fears and frustrations.

The performances of Robb and Hutcherson are wonderful and bring to life characters that I never could imagine existing in a film version of the book. These two child actors capture the complexity and intimacy of Patterson’s characters with grace.

The invented world of Terabithia remains the only flaw in the film. Computer animated creatures stand out like a sore thumb. How much better the forest sequences would have been without animated beings popping out of every bush.

I understand the need for market appeal and recognize that wonderful films like “Because of Winn Dixie” earn low box office draws because many parents do not trust their children’s attention span when faced with realistic stories. That said I’m willing to bet that children will not remember the magical creatures in this film, but instead will leave theaters thinking about wonderful private surroundings to explore in their own environment.

The film’s final act takes a tragic turn that can only be described as difficult and cathartic for children. As a child reading the book, I remember rereading the pages and being struck by the unreality of what had just happened, and the film captures that feeling perfectly. As in Paterson’s text, a tough subject is handled in a touching and beautiful way that will comfort rather than scar the child-viewer.

Despite an odd choice to inject computer animated wonder, “Bridge to Terabithia” is an extraordinary film. It’s a loving tribute to the best and the worst moments of adolescence and is essential viewing for any child over 9 years old.

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originally posted: 03/04/07 03:56:24
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User Comments

8/15/10 bored mom Unneeded film adaptation. There are better escapes to fantasy, in real books and videogames 3 stars
10/12/09 80s Angel a simply wonderful movie. 4 stars
3/19/09 Anonymous. the book is good & this is good too. :] 4 stars
1/25/09 Fan Its based on a true story MEL you idiot! 5 stars
7/08/08 mist David Cornelius gets everything right about whats wrong with this movie, its bad 1 stars
6/18/08 tiger too many children 1 stars
5/09/08 molly x an amazing film that made me cry 5 stars
5/03/08 Karrie Millheim I did not like this movie, I thought it was going to be so much different than it was 2 stars
4/21/08 Isabel I was told this compared with "Pan's Labyrinth". Not even close in interest and complexity 2 stars
4/10/08 Brandy Loved the book as a child. Thought this was pretty good. 4 stars
2/16/08 daveyt poo 1 stars
2/13/08 Katherine W. Apparently someone didn’t read the book. 4 stars
2/07/08 ROANN POT 5 stars
1/22/08 Al Toons Good Flick, Figures she disses God, another atheist, Roe topic against the "empire" of God 1 stars
1/13/08 jenny David Cornelius is a big fool.jus fire him from his job.awesome movie for everyone 5 stars
1/11/08 Jason Good movie but marketed improperly. Not for young kids, maybe for 8-13 3 stars
1/03/08 Justin P I cried like a little baby. It was really good. 5 stars
12/09/07 Melanie Loved it. It opens your eyes up to how those less fortunate kids live. Really sad 5 stars
11/02/07 mike dirty marketing. this is no narnia. its just a tragedy. im pissed off 1 stars
9/13/07 Slicer Fifteen minutes into it, I walked out. This movie ROYALLY SUCKS on a fundamental level. 1 stars
8/25/07 Jeff A fine movie, mature and engaging. The reviewer will think more of it when older, I'd bet. 5 stars
8/14/07 armin good movie..reay sad but become happy at the end, al otgether good movie 5 stars
8/12/07 deedee David Cornelius, there must be a black hole where your heart should be! A beautiful film. 5 stars
8/02/07 Greg B This belongs in a 4th grade school room period. Waste of 3D effects. Waste of time. 1 stars
7/18/07 Jordan Boone The movie has plenty of heart and creativy and shows that David Cornelius is an idiot. 5 stars
7/07/07 Tracey Chambers good movie for older kids. younger kids may get to upset. 3 stars
7/07/07 Wildbluesun That rare thing - a children's film with a brain. 5 stars
6/25/07 khailan I luv this movie because i was in bridge to teribathia and i got to meet josh and annasophi 5 stars
6/24/07 action movie fan okay kids movie-nothing like lord of the rings though 3 stars
6/15/07 William Goss Misguided direction highlights fantasy, hinders admirably mature moments. 3 stars
6/09/07 Stephanie Throckmorton Right, EricD, doesn't "manhandle" viewer's heart, unlike the book, which DOES! 3 stars
6/09/07 Lynne O'Leahy-Cassid More palatable than the book; yet lovers of the book probably wouldn't like it. 3 stars
5/24/07 leon richardson it's great until AnnaSophia Robb died then it goes down hill from there 3 stars
5/23/07 Jessica Childress If it is really out to spread "right-wing Christian values" I should like it much better! 3 stars
5/15/07 vicky fabulous multi-dimensional meanings to this film-for adults not kids 5 stars
4/25/07 Tiffany Losco sad, I took my 4 yearold. She kept asking me why? why? 4 stars
4/15/07 pat Ouch! I went out for a sweet fantasy film and came home angry because I ruined my eye makeu 2 stars
4/12/07 rimrhino This was a great flick; I cried, and I'm one of those "manly men" Todd mentioned! 5 stars
3/26/07 gary i go to a disney movie to escape.. this film made me want to escape the theatre 3 stars
3/22/07 ES Wow, powerful moments and some real life lessons 4 stars
3/14/07 Cire Alleraccav This movie will make any kid with a heart cry -- and think -- for all the right reasons! 5 stars
3/12/07 Kevin unremarable 5 stars
3/09/07 Martin Visaully, it's well made, but that's all it has, the rest is just sh@t 1 stars
3/06/07 Robin Hudspeth The trailer posed this as a kid's movie with magical animation. Not! A tragedy - Ol Yeller! 3 stars
3/05/07 --- Previews very misleading-if you're looking for Narnia type film you'll be disappointed 1 stars
3/04/07 Justin Imagination? Where? Fun? Where? RIP OFF 2 stars
2/27/07 bob ok,sad 4 stars
2/22/07 paddysixpack unbelievably brilliant 5 stars
2/19/07 Patrick Knapp I took my 9 yr. old son to see it. His first words on hitting the exit..."What a gyp." 2 stars
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  16-Feb-2007 (PG)
  DVD: 19-Jun-2007

  04-May-2007 (PG)
  DVD: 15-Oct-2007

  14-Jun-2007 (PG)

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