Directed by: Gabor Csupo
Written by:Jeff Stockwell, David Paterson
Starring: Josh Hutcherson, AnnaSophia Robb, Zooey Deschanel, Robert Patrick, Bailee Madison
Released: June 14, 2007
Grade: A

Jesse (Hutcherson) two passions are running and drawing.  He goes jogging every day with the hope of being the best at his school.  When not outdoors, he retreats to his room and draws some imaginative pictures in his scrap book.

Jesse has always been a quiet kid and these interests allow him to keep to himself.  It’s as if he’s trying not to be noticed by others.  He avoids his gossiping sisters at home and the bullies in the school playground. 

Things change when a girl named Leslie (Robb) moves into the house next door.  They share the same class at school and have similar personalities.  They quickly become best friends and spend all of their spare time in each other’s company.

Exploring a nearby forest, Jesse and Leslie discover an old, rundown tree house.  It becomes their special place.  Every afternoon after school, they go the tree house and create their own mystical adventures.  They fight an array of strange creatures in a world they call Terabithia.

Let me say straight out that these two kids are great.  Jesse and Leslie are honest characters who have been played brilliantly by Josh Hutcherson and AnnaSophia Robb.  Their actions, both mature and immature, will perhaps bring back memories of your own childhood friendships.  The fun times they share together allow them to forget life’s bigger problems.

Their spirit won me over and it’s why Bridge To Terabithia is such an achievement.  It may be a fantasy-type movie but it’s real and believable.  Both kids and adults will relate.  The film goes down an unexpected path in the final half-hour but I won’t reveal it so as not to spoil the movie.  I didn’t see it coming and it gives the film a real emotional impact.

Director Gabor Csupo has done a terrific job in blending the fantasy with the reality.  He doesn’t overdo the action sequences and this gives him time to develop the characters and the story.  Some of the film’s most interesting scenes are not spent in the forest but rather at Jesse’s home and school.  This rich screenplay is based on a 1977 novel written by Katherine Paterson.  It’s interesting to note that Paterson’s son, David, helped adapt it for the big screen.

Bridge To Terabithia is an awesome family movie.  It provides a memorable movie-going experience for children and adults alike.  I didn’t expect much when walking into the cinema but I had much to tell on walking out.