In 1978 Katherine Paterson won the Newbury Medal for best children’s book, “Bridge to Terabithia”. The book has been brought to movie form in this great example of the power of the imagination and the troubles of growing up.
The movie follows Jesse and Leslie’s adventure in the land of Terabithia, a land they create in response to the bullies of middle school. Terabithia is a land where they rule and protect against the dark one. There they conquer trolls, fend off mutant squirrels, and build their fort. At school, they are pelted with ketchup packets on the bus, tripped in the hallway, and made a fool of by a mean 8th grader. Terabithia is their safe house away from Jesse’s cramped family life, and Leslie’s preoccupied parents. In the book, you had to imagine what they were seeing. However, thanks to Disney, the CGI creations on screen draw the audience in to their world.
If you didn’t read the book when you were young, you probably shouldn’t read it now. It’s a children?s book, much like this is a movie for children or the pre-teen set. However, I wasn’t bored in the theater. This movie is put together nicely, and really does have a coming of age feel. Leslie’s free spirited attitude and life is cut short very suddenly, and the effect of her death on Jesse is heartbreaking. He returns to Terabithia for support, and brings in a new princess, his younger sister. It ends hopefully, but is still sad.
The acting by Josh Hutcherson and AnnaSophia Robb is good–they act like 11-year olds should, despite what the overzealous media tells us today. The book has the innocence that 1978 did, and that’s why it works. Take your kids, or little cousins, or neices and newphews. It’s a quality film.
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