Reviewed by: Maggie Hays
Why should Christians go to church? How important is it? Answer
Is there an actual place called “Hell”? Answer
Why was Hell made? Answer
Is there anyone in Hell today? Answer
Will there literally be a burning fire in Hell? Answer
What should you be willing to do to stay out of Hell? Answer
How can a God of love send anybody to Hell? Answer
What if I don’t believe in Hell? Answer
The Good News—How to be saved from Hell. Answer
|Featuring||AnnaSophia Robb, Josh Hutcherson, Zooey Deschanel, Lauren Clinton, Bailee Madison|
|Producer||Lauren A. Levine, David Paterson, Hal Lieberman|
|Distributor||Walt Disney Pictures|
“Discover a place that will never leave you, and a friendship that will change you forever.”
“Bridge To Terabithia” is very true to Katherine Paterson’s Newbury-award-winning novel. It is also very true to life when you’re a middle schooler dealing with school bullies and stressed-out parents struggling to make ends meet. Jess Aarons (Josh Hutcherson) is that kid who just doesn’t seem to fit in at school or even in his own family. Leslie Burke (AnnaSophia Robb) is the new girl at school who develops a fast friendship with Jess, and together they invent an imaginary fantasy world called Terabithia. This movie deals with many issues young people may face—the trial of riding on the school bus with bullies, putting up with them in class all day, and having parents who, because of their preoccupation with financial stress and a large family, cannot understand their sensitive son. Jess is the poor “farm boy” and Leslie is the advantaged only-child of the writers who live in the nice big house down the road. Jess is from the church-going family of Believers, Leslie has not been expo
Terabithia is from the producers of “The Chronicles of Narnia,” but this is no Narnia. In Narnia the fantasy reigns throughout the whole story, in Terabithia it is really just a small part of the realistic story when Jess and Leslie unleash their imaginations. There are some special effects, and they are wonderful, but they occupy only a part of the movie.
Things that I especially liked about this film—Jess and Leslie are played by two very talented and experienced young actors. They are completely believable in this story. They develop great loyalty to each other and their friendship is beautiful to watch.
Jess is very loving and kind towards his pesky baby sister, who obviously adores him, and Leslie befriends her as well. This sets a good example for siblings who may see this film.
Teachers are shown in a good light in this story—though not at first. They are portrayed as educational professionals who truly care about their students. As a former elementary teacher, I highly approved of this.
Leslie employs her imagination to a high degree and, though a fantasy world may not actually appear for your children, it is a good example to tap into the wonderful abilities God has given us. I wonder how many exciting new young writers and artists may appear after viewing this movie…
Grief is dealt with great compassion in this story as one of the characters dies. To reveal who, would be a spoiler I can’t bring myself to expose.
Bullies, forgiveness, and friendship are all dealt with in this story very realistically.
Things I did not like in this film that parents should know (I am writing this from a mother’s perspective)—
Jess’s family is the church-going family, yet Jess’ Dad is the only person who curses in this film, more than once. (Damn). He is a hard man, flawed and impatient with his son and reluctant to show Jess any affection and understanding. Yet, the non-Christian writer (Leslie’s father) comes off accepting, kind and loving. I would have liked to see the opposite in the father’s personalities. Viewing this, some may think that being a Christian does not improve the temperament of a person at all, when just the opposite should be true.
Along with the above idea—the children’s conversation on the way home from church showed Jess and his sister warning Leslie that if she doesn’t believe the Bible she will be damned to Hell for ever. This made me feel that the Christians in this movie are portrayed in a somewhat typical Hollywood fashion—judgmental, critical, and negative. While, on the other hand, Leslie and her family are shown to be sweet, kind, successful and loving even though Scripture has no influence in their lives.
Despite the things I might not have liked about this movie, it is a very good story for the entire family, and gives parents many things to discuss with their children. I am glad I took my daughter with me, she loved it, though afterwards we did discuss how Christians were portrayed. As a mother and homeschooler, I don’t think parents should be afraid to take their children to this movie and anything you may find objectionable can be discussed afterward. It would also be a good youth group activity, and would be followed by lively discussion I’m sure.
Violence: Mild / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: None
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.
“This is a film which clearly needs to be examined or inquired into by parents before they let their children attend. The label PG plainly states that parents may consider some material unsuitable for their children, but the parent must make the decision. Parents are warned against sending their children, unseen and without inquiry, to PG-rated movies. The theme of a PG-rated film may itself call for parental guidance. There may be some profanity in these films. There may be some violence or brief nudity. But these elements are not deemed so intense as to require that parents be strongly cautioned beyond the suggestion of parental guidance. There is no drug use content in a PG-rated film. The PG rating, suggesting parental guidance, is thus an alert for examination of a film by parents before deciding on its viewing by their children. Obviously such a line is difficult to draw. In our pluralistic society it is not easy to make judgments without incurring some disagreement. So long as parents know they must exercise parental responsibility, the rating serves as a meaningful guide and as a warning.” (end of MPA quote)