Bridge to Terabithia is an amazing little bit of show. Not extraordinarily popular, I assume – because of it’s simpleness. Imagination runs wild, encouraging yours to do the same.
Now, I’m not normally fond of movies, and yes – this one has it’s little hiccups – but it’s different. The main character, Jess, is a boy who doesn’t fit in at school. He loves to draw, and has an amazing talent, coming up with the things as he goes. He rarely enjoys the time with his family, especially considering the fact that he finds no interest in the television (alight, I admit it – a bit ironic). Now, before you go thinking that this is like one of my favorite movies as a kid (Matilda), wait a moment. He meets a girl at school, Leslie, who is new to the area, and coincidentally his neighbor. She sort of stands out from the rest; wearing what she wants (fear not, it’s modest) and not caring what her piers think of her. Her parents are authors.
One of my favorite scenes is when she is asked to read her essay to the class. She eagerly stands in front of the mocking class and reads. Full of fervor and gripping descriptions, you are swept up by the little story. As she sits down, the teacher begins to explain an assignment to the class. The students are to take a video home and to write a one page essay on it. Leslie raises her hand and asks what she should do if she can’t complete the assignment. The teacher, startled, blunders that she’s sure her parents would be fine with the movie. Leslie, looking a tad exasperated, emphasizes, “No, I can’t.,” doing her best to help her English teacher see that she meant the true meaning of the word. The class bully snickers at her and rudely asks why she can’t. She looked calmly at him and said, “I don’t have a TV. Dad says it kills your brain cells.” (Yes, I’m cringing at the irony.) He laughs hysterically and says, “Your dad doesn’t know anything.” She then promptly retorts, “I stand my case.”
Soon enough, Leslie and Jess are the best of friends. Her imagination has no bounds, and she quickly converts Jess over. They find a little world of their own – reaching it by swinging on a rope across a creak. Eventually, there are friendly giants, scary birds and creatures, and a dog, P.T. (Prince Terrian) who is a great goblin fighter and hunter. They improve the tree house that they find, and continue to build it up. Leslie names their new found country Terabithia.
Tragically, when Jess goes on an impromptu field trip to an art museum in the big city, Leslie drowns in the overflowing creak after the rope broke. Broken hearted, Jess becomes quieter than ever, angry and depressed. He blames himself for not having been there.
In the end, the relationship between he and his father is firmly established, and he finally allows his little sister to come see Terabithia. But – not until he had built a bridge over the large tree that had fallen. He brings her, and – with an open and far-reaching mind – she begins to see it. He is crowned king, but he will only be king as long as his sister is princess. The peoples of the land applaud and cheer at the sight.
Unfortunately, there is a major glitch in the movie. Leslie’s views on God and Heaven and Hell are a bit alarming, though not uncommon. She believes the story of Jesus beautiful and believes it because she wants to, yet she cannot imagine that God “could damn people to Hell. He’s too busy running the rest of this!” She says this as they are sitting in the bed of the truck on the way home from work. By “the rest of this!” she means the beautiful world surrounding them at the moment.
I appreciated what the movie tried to convey. Leslie’s imagination – unadulterated by the world – inspires me.