Bridge to Terabithia Parent Guide
Parent Movie Review
All Jesse Aarons (Josh Hutcherson) needs is someone to believe in him—anyone. At home, he’s overrun with sisters and has to suffer the indignity of wearing the older one’s hand-me-downs and sharing a room with the younger two. His harried mother (Kate Butler) continually frets over unpaid bills, and Jesse’s dad (Robert Patrick) is distant and demanding of his son, rather than making sure the boys stick together—which men often do when they are outnumbered.
On the bus and at the school, it isn’t any better. There seems to be something that makes his class mates down right mean and nasty (some of the teachers aren’t much better). In fact, the only time Jesse feels any freedom is when he’s running or drawing. Unfortunately, even the satisfaction of being the fastest kid in junior high is dampened when he’s beat at a big race by none other than the new girl at school.
The rich, fresh-from-the-city student is the only child of two fiction writers who have moved into the vacant house at the end of Jesse’s lane. The unconventional family doesn’t have a TV, for fear it will harm Leslie (AnnaSophia Robb), whose imagination obviously hasn’t been hurt by the deprivation. This free spirit dresses and acts decidedly different than the other adolescents she goes to class with. However, despite their differences, Leslie offers Jesse the one thing he can’t find anywhere else—a willingness to believe in him.
Soon the two outsiders become fast friends and create their own fantastical world called Terabithia. (Unlike the magical wardrobe in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Jesse and Leslie need only a swinging rope to get them across the creek and into their forest kingdom.)
Deep in the woods, they discover the remains of an abandoned tree house. Using discarded scrapes and salvaged finds, they enhance the secret hideaway that becomes their castle, and from there they contend with magical giants, mystical creatures and tree-tall trolls that inhabit their land. Yet, every evening the twosome must return to the real world where bullies, poverty and heartbreak are part of the fabric of life.
Like the book, written by Katherine Paterson, the storyline deals with the challenges of childhood that are sometimes dismissed by adults too concerned with their own worries. Finding a safe place (in this case the made-up land of Terabithia) to work through those difficulties can be paramount to successfully navigating the growing up years. However for younger viewers, the brief encounters with aggressive fantasy creatures and the bullies at school might prove scary. As well, an unexpected tragedy and the guilt that follows may be disturbing.
Still the film brings depth to many of the main characters, exposing both their flaws and their strengths. Also it portrays the power of friendship to draw out the best in others and create confidence in them. And nothing is as magical as that.Starring Josh Hutcherson, AnnaSophia Robb. Running time: 96 minutes. Theatrical release February 15, 2007. Updated April 2, 2009
Bridge to Terabithia
Rating & Content Info
Why is Bridge to Terabithia rated PG? Bridge to Terabithia is rated PG by the MPAA for thematic elements including bullying, some peril and mild language
Life in the country isn’t as romantic as it is sometimes appears for the families in this film. A lack of money and a houseful of kids cause a couple to struggle over finances. The tension affects the father who at times yells at his son. At school, this same boy is the target of bullies who physically and verbally abuse him, causing him to punch another boy in the nose. Another tyrant refuses to let the girls use the bathroom unless they pay her and gives a fellow student a bloody nose. Later a girl admits her father routinely hits her. Even church doesn’t offer solace to the souls of the children that believe God is a mean and unjust ruler who will condemn them to eternal misery. In the mythical world of Terabithia, two children fight off a pack of wild dog-like creatures. Squirrels, hawks and a huge troll also attack them. In the real world, characters must deal with the sudden loss of a loved one. The script includes some mild profanities.
Page last updated April 2, 2009
More parents' guide for Bridge to Terabithia after the break...
Bridge to Terabithia Parents' Guide
How does Leslie show her belief in Jesse? What effect does her friendship have on him? How does it help him deal with other people?
Leslie loves to create stories and Jesse loves to draw. How do they encourage one another to develop their individual talents?
An unexpected loss causes grief and guilt. How do the adults deal with the tragedy? Is it different for the children? Who shows compassion? Do those kind acts affect your view of those characters?
The most recent home video release of Bridge to Terabithia movie is June 18, 2007. Here are some details…
DVD Release Date: 19 June 2007
Cross the Bridge to Terabithia with this DVD release from Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media, and explore the enchanted tale through two audio commentaries (one by director Gabor Csupo, writer Jeff Stockwell and producer Hal Lieberman, and the other by actors Josh Hutcherson, AnnaSophia Robb and producer Lauren Levine). You can also run wild with the featurette Digital Imagination: Bringing Terabithia To Life, as well as crack open Behind the Book: The Themes of Bridge to Terabithia. In the later you will get to meet author Katherine Paterson and discover how her son David played an inspirational role in the book’s creation. (David Paterson worked on the screenplay and helped produce this movie too.) Last, but not least, the talented AnnaSophia Robb shows off her singing abilities in the music video Keep Your Mind Wide Open. This DVD is available in either wide or full screen presentations, with audio tracks in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English, French and Spanish).
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Other children’s novels have also made it to the big screen. In Tuck Everlasting, a young girl finds the fountain of eternal life in the forest behind her home. Holes is the story of a young man wrongly accused of stealing and sent to a youth detention center in the middle of the desert. And Because of Winn Dixie (also starring AnnaSophia Robb) tells the tale of a motherless child who finds comfort in a four-legged friend.