I do not know whether I should thank or blame the mischief of the movie trailer that Disney has promoted for “Bridge To Terabithia.” When I first saw the movie I did not know about the content or book of the same name, or an old movie version in 1985, I thought I was about to go on a Narnia adventure. Two children, accidentally found a secret path, led them to the mysterious bridge to enter the magic land. There, they fight with strange creatures, win and become rulers of the kingdom. That’s what the trailer represents.
A trailer, and completely wrong with the content of the film. But thanks to that, I was surprised by what I found: a touching story about the friendship between two lonely children, two special children with sensitivity and dream, but alienation. Both create their own imaginary kingdom, and share life, help and change each other. A warm and painful film, smoothly told by animated film director Gabor Csupo, great music from Aaron Zigman, one of the best soundtrack films to me, and one that can not be ignored. Josh Hutcherson and AnnaSophia Robb.
I cried at my first visit a few years ago. And even knowing what will happen will not stop the tears at this revision.
Although there are scenes that use skill, and was invested quite carefully to paint the imaginary kingdom of Terabithia, the film is still attached to the reality more. Jess, a poor country boy, did not even have a good pair of shoes to go to school, apparently without any joy in life. He was invisible at home among his sisters, and was a bully at school bullies. Jess just likes to run and paint, with a sensitive and vulnerable soul. He feels distant from his daddy, but also expects love from him, though only as small as a kiss good night.
Then Leslie appeared. She defeated Jess in the running competition and noticed him from the start. Leslie feels his loneliness, feels like Jess, and finds a way to make friends. AnnaSophia Robb wrote to director Csupó himself, a letter “beautiful and warm” about her love for the book and the character Leslie. Csupó was convinced by the letter, and despite Robb’s appearance not being described in the book, personality, enthusiasm and insight helped her to play Leslie perfectly. And another reason, the director feels a special bond between Robb and Hush Hutcherson, who plays Jess. He knew that the two children would bring the right emotions that the film should touch.
I love movies with childhood space like Terabithia. A peaceful countryside with a path through trees, with endless woods. How many children, including me, have spent the most beautiful days there, with so many adventures. The forests are the children’s own world, containing all their imagination and dreams. There will always be something magical, magical, waiting for them after the trees, the streams, every child knows this. I remember once I went very deep into the forest, hoping to find a field with rows of trees. I returned, and told the children about the field, passionate as if I had just arrived, touched and tasted the good fresh fruit there. That’s my Terabithia.
As for Leslie and Jess, Terabithia is a kingdom where no sorrows exist. Leslie is an imaginative and good girl in words. While Jess was talented in expressing the image. That makes them both lost among the friends around. The only difference between them, is Jesse sank in melancholy, while Leslie optimistic and full of vitality. She is self-control, strong, unaffected by people around her. She is the sunshine through the life of Jess. Leslie taught Jess how to “open up his mind” to look at life in a different perspective. “If your parents are writers, you probably spend a lot of time with them?” Jess asked. “Not really,” answered Leslie, and I knew she was not perfect. That is the way Leslie experienced her loneliness in her own way, turning bullies into squirrels, into vultures, making the sadness of the real world into joy in imagination. A rope left in the forest, can lead to an interesting place, how much better life then?
The pure friendship between Leslie and Jess reminds me of Gordie and Christ’s friendship in Stand By Me, the great 1986 “Coming-of-age” movie. The kids share the world of each other, sharing. The pain, help each other to grow up. Leslie slowly changes Jess. The night of the first day the two children came to Terabithia, Jess could not sleep. Just a brief but warm footage. Jess looked out the window and smiled, the light in his eyes was a fresh and fresh bliss that he had never known. Happiness when not alone, no longer lonely. I love every little detail of interest that both of us give each other, Leslie’s birthday gift, little dog from Jess, and the gesture of love from other characters: For brother, fatherly affection, a gesture of kindness can change people (Janice), teacher comfort with the pain of students; The movie is connected by those fires, and warms our hearts.
This is the last movie by veteran Michael Chapman, who has starred in films such as Jaws, Taxi Driver or Raging Bull. He wants to end his career with a really good movie, and devote himself to “Terabithia”. Because this is “a beautiful story,” he said, “is the genre I want to film at this point in my life.”
And the rain scene, no matter how many times I watch it, is as beautiful and moving as it was the first time. Just like the image of Christ walking and disappearing in Gordie’s memory, is something precious that I will bring to life. The luckiest thing of the kids, is never to worry until tomorrow. Each day, they meet, play and say “see you back” gently. As if tomorrow, tomorrow, and tomorrow will be like today, there will be no goodbye. The scriptwriter for the film is Paterson, the story between Leslie and Jess is his true story, with a neighbor girl at the age of eight. His mother relied on it to write the book. Thus, he portrays that truly sudden foot, that moment, which he experienced. One day, I come back and everything is not the same, and people look at me differently. I do not understand, but know that something very serious, great and beyond the knowledge here. I go to bed and wake up the next morning, calmly thinking that it is just a nightmare. That is life, and my heart sank.
It’s hard to write about Bridge To Terabithia anymore, I spent an entire night just to get worked up and not feel satisfied. I will rewrite one day. Just know that this is a movie that I will love a lot, like “Stand By Me”, like “Groundhog day”, the movies I just want to watch over and over whenever possible, whenever a friend comes over . I love, I love, I love this movie. The last thing to say, is that, like Gordie, Christ never loses, so does Leslie. Each special friend, who has left a mark in our lives, will stay forever. Leslie went to Terabithia, where she was never forgotten. Shelter in Jess’s heart.