Bridge to Terabithia (2007)

Desperate to earn his father’s respect, sister-swamped Jess Aarons (Josh Hutcherson) consoles his outcast self with the title of fastest runner in his class. That is, until newcomer Leslie Burke (AnnaSophia Robb) goes all equal-opportunities at the school race, robbing him of first place. Striking up an eventual friendship, Leslie teaches Jess to open his mind and look beyond his troubles at school. Founding a secret land that only they can reach, the two let their imaginations run wild as they begin to apply their newest skills as King and Queen of Treabithia to their lives beyond the fantastical kingdom’s borders – namely to overthrow the school bully, find peace with his stoic father (Robert Patrick) and perhaps even score some points with teacher-crush Ms. Edmunds (Zooey Deschanel).

Struck down by an acute case of insomnia – and somehow convinced that what I was about to watch was directed by Jon Favreau (I will spell it right eventually) – I settled down to watch Bridge to Terabithia with somewhat high expectations.

As it turns out, the movie was in fact directed by Gabor Csupo – a Nickelodeon veteran with producing credits on The Rugrats Movie and The Wild Thornberrys Movie (don’t scoff, it’s genius!). Eventually taking all he had learnt to the far inferior Moonacre, Csupo takes a break from the expected to deliver one of the most endearing and poignant children’s fantasies slowly choking HMV. Altough the fantasy realm of Terabithia is – if we’re being honest – a bit shit, it is refreshing to encounter a children’s movie more than willing to treat its nose-picking audience like adults. The real world exponentially more interesting than the imaginary, the cast excels at conveying normality with heart breaking realism.

Although engaging and well acted throughout, it is not until a third act twist that you are able to truly appreciate the power of this awkwardly titled movie – and the inherent quality of its source material. Robb having toned down the annoying since her turn as Violet in Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Hutcherson on top form, the central friendship utterly convinces as the two outcasts – not in a Judd Apatow, where-is-the-nearest-exit kind of way – find an outlet for their creativity and create a sympathetic coping mechanism for the initial bleakness of their respective realities.

Boasting more in common with Coraline or Where The Wild Things Are than author Katherine Paterson’s Narnian namesake (Terabithia is an island which appears in both C. S. Lewis’ Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader), Bridge to Terabithia is a surprisingly mature and affecting tale of childhood angst and bravery as two friends struggle to overcome the greatest adversity of all: growing up.

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

One Response to Bridge to Terabithia (2007)

  1. Pingback: January 2011 – It’s on like Donkey Kong « popcornaddict

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