Bridge To Terabithia

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner2/05/2007

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 95 mins

Enjoyable, superbly acted drama that will appeal to kids and adults alike – just make sure you have some tissues handy for the final reel.

What's it all about?
Jess Aarons (Josh Hutcherson) is a ten-year-old outsider, bullied at school and doomed to lose the struggle for his financially strapped parents' attention to one or more of his four sisters. When his new classmate Leslie Burke (AnnaSophia Robb) moves in next door, they quickly become friends, based on a shared love of using their imaginations.

Together, Jess and Leslie create a fantasy world called Terabithia, which can only be accessed by swinging across a river in the woods behind their homes. Their imaginative fictional adventures inspire them to find similar solutions to their real life problems, including an attack on the school bully (Lauren Clinton) and finding ways to help their preoccupied parents.

The Good
The film is much more grounded in reality than the Narnia-inspired title (and the poster's trumpeting of the Narnia movie connection) would have you believe. Based on Katherine Peterson's much loved children's novel, Bridge to Terabithia is an engaging coming-of-age drama about friendship, loss and the power of the imagination that will appeal to adults and children alike.

Hutcherson and Robb give wonderfully charming performances and their onscreen friendship is genuinely heart-warming. There's also superb support from Robert Patrick (as Jess's sympathetic father), Bailee Madison (who steals every scene as Jess's interfering younger sister, May Belle) and the ever fabulous Zooey Deschanel, in a pivotal role as Jess's music and art teacher.

The Great
The special effects sequences are well designed, with the fantasy elements cleverly mirroring their real life counterparts (the giant's resemblance to the bully is particularly amusing) so that they don't overshadow the real story.

Worth seeing?
The poster may be slightly misleading in its over-emphasis of the fantasy elements but this is a superbly written, imaginatively directed and ultimately moving coming of age drama with terrific performances from its two young leads. Recommended.

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Bridge To Terabithia
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Content updated: 29/02/2020 16:00

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