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Jess Aarons (Josh Hutcherson) is an outsider at school and even in his own family. Jess has trained all summer to become the fastest kid in his middle school class but his goal is unexpectedly thwarted by the new girl, Leslie Burke (Annasophia Robb). Despite their awkward introduction, the two outsiders become best friends. Leslie loves to tell stories of fantasy and magic. Jess loves to draw, but until he meets Leslie it is something he keeps to himself. Together they create the secret and fantastic kingdom of Terabithia, a magical place only accessible by an old swinging rope over a stream in the woods near their homes. There, the friends rule the kingdom, fight the Dark Master and his creatures and plot against the school bullies.

Review by Louise Keller:
"Get your head out of the cloud," Jesse's father tells him, wanting his son to help with the chores, instead of losing himself in his sketch book. Drawing is Jesse's (Josh Hutcherson) escape from the reality in which he finds himself - ridiculed at school and ignored at home. Until he finds a kindred spirit in AnnaSophia Robb's new girl, Leslie, with whom he discovers a wondrous imaginary world, when he heeds to her advice to 'open your mind wide'. Adapted from Katherine Paterson's novel, this beautifully drawn family friendly film explores the power of the imagination, bonding two like-souls as they create their own world, far away from their bleak everyday.

'Making up is different from lying,' Leslie tells Jess, when he is captivated by her storytelling abilities in class. Together by swinging on the rope that acts as a bridge to the fantasy land of Terabithia, they find their own special place where dragonflies are warriors and falling trees are giant trolls. Key to the success of the film is the performance of the two leads: Hutcherson as the ordinary farm boy and Robb as the exuberant pixie-like dreamer with stars in her eyes. Their relationship forms the foundation of the story, as they share their most precious possession - their imagination.

Fantasy counters the loneliness, bullying, guilt and boredom of their lives. We understand the relationships: May Belle (Bailee Madison) as Jess's adorable little sister and Janice (Lauren Clinton) as the school bully who hides a vulnerability below her toughness. In the second half, the storyline changes directions and Jess, like us, finds himself facing painful, unexpected events. The film's moods swing as high and low as the rope that takes us from one side of the river to the other, and director Gabor Csupo handles them all astutely and with great sensitivity. This is a richly layered story that will touch all ages.

DVD special features include a music video, audio commentaries and behind the scenes featurettes.

Published October 18, 2007

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(US, 2007)

CAST: Josh Hutcherson, Annasophia Robb, Zooey Deschanel, Robert Patrick, Bailee Madison, Kate Butler, Devon Wood, Emma Fenton, Grace Brennigan, Latham Gaines, Judy McIntosh, Lauren Clinton

PRODUCER: Lauren Levine, Hal Lieberman, David Paterson

DIRECTOR: Gabor Csupo

SCRIPT: Jeff Stockwell, David Paterson (book by Katherine Paterson)


EDITOR: John Gilbert

MUSIC: Aaron Zigman


RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes



PRESENTATION: widescreen

SPECIAL FEATURES: Disney's Fast Play ; Music & More: "Keep Your Mind Wide Open" Music Video ; Backstage Disney; Behind The Book: The Themes Of Bridge To Terabithia ; Digital Imagination: Bringing Terabithia To Life ; Audio Commentaries


DVD RELEASE: October 17, 2007

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