Bridge to Terabithia (2007)

bridge to terabithia poster 2007 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Good story that is hard to adapt

Loses some of the book's power

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Bridge to Terabithia

Studio:  Walden Media/Hal Lieberman Company/Lauren Levine Productions Inc.

Genre(s):  Drama/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Family

Release Date(s):  February 15, 2007 (South Korea)/February 16, 2007 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG

bridge to terabithia josh hutcherson annasophia robb bailee madison

This movie will be a happy, fun ride forever!!!

Jess Aarons (Josh Hutcherson) feels he doesn’t fit in with his family.  His father (Robert Patrick) doesn’t understand him and he doesn’t get the attention that his younger sister May Belle (Bailee Madison) gets.  When his attempts to become the fasted kid in his class are dashed on the first day of school by a new girl named Leslie Burke (AnnaSophia Robb), Jess doesn’t realize that Leslie could change his entire life.

Directed by Gábor Csupó, Bridge to Terabithia is a family fantasy-drama.  The film is an adaptation of Katherine Paterson’s 1977 award winning young-adult novel.  It was released to mostly positive reviews.

I loved Bridge to Terabithia when I was growing up.  It was the type of book that tore you apart and kind of dared to not treat kids like kids.  While the movie is relatively faithful to the story, it seems to lack some of the punch of the book…but it still is an emotional punch.  Due to aspects of the story, a ******spoiler alert****** exists for the rest of the review.

bridge to terabithia leslie burke dies annasophia robb wave rain

Don’t worry…despite the slow-motion, nothing will happen to her…or will it?

The book had an even darker tone which are softened.  There is much more bullying for Aaron being an artist and an implication that straight boys don’t draw (including from his father) which is smartly not developed.  The movie does get into poverty, bullying, and abuse, but it also has the idea of parents completely neglecting their children (mostly because of financial situations or work).  The children build their own world and as result, tragedy occurs…which is harsher than most kids movies.

Josh Hutcherson is good as Jess and he is a good crier when he needs to be but AnnaSophia Robb shines as Leslie…which her character is supposed to do so it is somewhat built into the role.  Bailee Madison plays a good pain in the butt (but cute) little sister while Robert Patrick’s gruff persona is a good fit for the father.  Lauren Clinton plays a decent bully (along with good bullies Cameron Wakefield and Elliot Lawless), but Zooey Deschanel is the teacher you always wanted.

bridge to terabithia ending magical land

May Belle’s Terabithia is a lot cooler…

The movie is a drama, but it relies heavily on fantasy for the telling of the story which involves Jess and Leslie imagining a fantasy world.  It is kind of reminiscent of the visuals of Heavenly Creatures with the real world turning into a fantasy world, but it is also hard to really capture the imagination of children who can “see” fantasy without seeming a bit forced.

Bridge to Terabithia should be read first, but this is a decent supplement to the book.  Just like the parents in this story, a parent might regret not being more involved in their children’s lives by popping on this movie without checking what it is about, but kids can deal with loss and need to deal with loss…it is a sad part of life.  Bridge to Terabithia doesn’t really sugarcoat it.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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