Bridge to Terabithia

Critics Consensus

Bridge to Terabithia is a faithful adaptation of a beloved children's novel and a powerful portrayal of love, loss, and imagination through children's eyes.



Total Count: 157


Audience Score

User Ratings: 468,451
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Movie Info

"Bridge to Terabithia" is a fantasy/adventure story of friendship, family and the power of imagination Jess Aarons 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 in school, Leslie Burke who competes in the "boys only" race and wins. Despite their awkward introduction, the two outsiders quickly become best friends. Leslie loves to tell stories of fantasy and magic. Jess loves to draw, but until he met Leslie, it was something he kept to himself. Leslie opens a new world of imagination for Jess. Together they create the secret kingdom of Terabithia, a magical place only accessible by swinging on an old 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. Thanks to his friendship with Leslie, Jess is changed for good. Brimming with fantastical creatures, palaces and beautiful forests, the world of Terabithia is brought to life.


Josh Hutcherson
as Jesse Aarons
AnnaSophia Robb
as Leslie Burke
Zooey Deschanel
as Ms. Edmonds
Robert Patrick
as Jack Aarons
Bailee Madison
as May Belle Aarons
Emma Fenton
as Ellie Aarons
Grace Brannigan
as Joyce Aarons
Latham Gaines
as Bill Burke
Judy McIntosh
as Judy Burke
Patricia Aldersley
as Grandma Burke
Kate Butler
as Nancy Aarons
Devon Wood
as Brenda Aarons
Carly Owen
as Madison
Jen Wolfe
as Mrs. Myers
James Gaylyn
as Principal Turner
Maisie McLeod-Riera
as First Grade Girl
Hudson Mills
as Willard Hughes
Matt Gibbons
as Dark Master
Lauren Clinton
as Janice Avery
Cameron Wakefield
as Scott Hoager
Elliot Lawless
as Gary Fulcher
Maisy McLeod-Riera
as First Grade Girl
Tyler Atfield
as Eight Grade Boy
Brandon Cook
as First Grade Boy
Philip Grieve
as Mr. Bailey
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Critic Reviews for Bridge to Terabithia

All Critics (157) | Top Critics (37) | Fresh (133) | Rotten (24)

  • Bridge to Terabithia is not only faithful to the novel but also stands to become a beloved family movie.

    Dec 5, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • This screen adaptation of Katherine Paterson's now-classic novel for young readers tells its story with agreeable simplicity in between computer-generated monsters.

    Nov 22, 2013
  • The special effects suggest a Narnia-like romp, but the movie has a darker, more sorrowful landscape to explore and it does so brilliantly, with true nuance and heartfelt sincerity.

    Nov 22, 2013 | Full Review…
  • It's the sort of movie I admire more in retrospect than I did while watching it.

    Dec 4, 2007 | Full Review…
  • I liked the seriousness with which it has been made, the willingness to grant deep feeling to its young characters, and the way it avoids of a lot of the cliches... but the failure to enchant in the scenes in the woods leaves a hole.

    Jun 15, 2007 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Here's an old-fashioned children's film that should suit the once huge family audience very well.

    May 4, 2007 | Rating: 3/5

Audience Reviews for Bridge to Terabithia

  • Mar 07, 2015
    Not the type of movie I would generally be interested in, but I really enjoyed it.
    Shawn M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 22, 2013
    "One day, a child and an angel stood on either side of a magic river that there was no crossing, but as they tried, the water began to rise; then they raised their eyes, and as the river fell away, they built a bridge... to Terabithia... or something." You folks probably have no idea what I was referencing, because it's hard to promote talent in the modern music industry, but make no mistake, I did just effectively butcher one of Transatlantic's less cheesily written ballads. Oh, whether the lyric be super corny or not, Neal Morse does enough damage with his cheesy vocals, but boy, he knows how to prog rock on a keyboard, and that kind of flare is worth waiting for, something that I kind of wish I could say about this film. Stretches to try and associate my ramblings about Transatlantic with this a discussion about this film aside (I hear director Gábor Csupó is a big Frank Zappa fan, so I'm sure he appreciates the promotion of cheesy progressive rock), at least when "The Chronicles of Narnia" dragged, it eventually ended up to some exciting intensity. I don't know, but when I find a fantasy film by Disney, I'm expecting something a little more exciting than a thoughtful meditation on how the friendship between and imaginations of two eccentric youths play an instrumental factor in their coming of age and finding paths in lives. Shoot, maybe I'm just worried because you know that a coming-of-age drama with prominent fantasy elements is just begging to be cheesed up by the usual subtlety issues of Neal Morse-I mean, Disney (I've got Transatlantic stuck in my head, so after this review, I might need to go take, oh, say, an hour or so to listen to one of their songs). Well, sure enough, this film is cheesy something fierce, and woah boy, that is far from its only problem, although I must give credit where it is due. Now, certain special effects are not all that special, with only a few being expansive, but most every visual effect, whether it be minimal or grandly well-crated, boasts a creativity that blends it into the context of fantasy themes with a lot of color. Delightful visuals, combined with a cloyingly overblown, but nonetheless lively score by Aaron Zigman sustain a moderate degree of entertainment value, while capturing a sense of wonderment, though not quite with as much genuineness as the convincing performances. As cheesy as this film is, someone was bound to mess up in this cast, but really, most everyone on the screen convinces in the character portrayals more so than the filmmakers do, and that especially goes for leads Josh Hutcherson and AnnaSophia Robb, who share electric chemistry, bookended by individual charm and even a degree of effective dramatic layering. As a vehicle for then-up-and-coming young talents, this film succeeds pretty surely, on the backs of a strong lead duo, who do about as much as they can, if not about as much as anyone or anything, to carry the value of this substance, which is, in fact, there. Well, this film is draggy, trite and all around cloying, but that's mostly because of storytelling, because in concept, this story, while minimalist something fierce, offers worthy coming-of-age subject matter that combines wonderment with grounded themes on friendship and bringing oneself to reality. I won't say there's a whole lot of potential here, because there's much in the way of flare that is lacking in this minimalist drama, whose natural shortcomings are brought more to light by an abundance in storytelling missteps, but at the heart of this project is a value that is done enough justice for the final product to border on decent. Alas, no matter how much the film tries in some areas, the lack of trying offers a potential for mediocrity that stands firm enough without a messy execution, due to natural shortcomings. As I just finished saying, there's potential to this story concept, but it's limited, offering a paper-thin conflict, and even little plays on the fantasy elements, until what you end up with is a fantasy flick and character drama that is lacking in flare, whose limitations could be easier to ignore if the execution wasn't so draggy. The film is certainly not that long, but then again, the narrative concept is hardly meat enough to sustain a 95-minute runtime, which is achieved largely through unfocused meanderings in material and an excess filler, neither of which blend together as comfortably as they should. It's debatable whether or not filler holds substance, as most beats in this story reinforce coming-of-age thematic depths, but they're ultimately too repetitious to be all that engaging, and some serious incoherencies to a near-unstructured plot body are by no means helpful. On top of all this, the film is also too generic to feel all that special, as David L. Paterson's and Jeff Stockwell's script falls into many characterization and mythology tropes along a formulaic path that feels practically trite when generic storytelling goes so far as to adopt cheesy pratfalls that are usually found within Disney dramas of this nature. A lot of life is taken out of this paper-thin drama by all of the startling dragging and incoherencies, but I'd be more willing to forgive Paterson's and Stockwell's script if it wasn't so unapologetically cheesy, featuring trite, corny dialogue that defuses genuineness to senses of childhood and wonderment that this coming-of-age fantasy flick thrives on, and tossing in paper-thin character types (What bully says, "Dead meat" anymore, let alone every time he's in the same room as the kid he's bullying?) to reflect particularly glaring lapses in subtlety that, through, if you will, overdevelopment and sometimes near-grating sentimentality, undercut heart. I understand that this is for the very young, and it's not like a sense of wonderment and dramatic depth aren't captured relatively well at times, but on the whole, what could have and should have been a more genuine and tastefully done fantasy drama with both depth and style proves to be generally obnoxious and distancing, with overbearing sentimentality that don't so much reflect ambition, as much as they reflect that classic Disney laziness. At no point do I understand what the critics are saying, but the film starts out endearingly, only to do hardly anything at all to obtain kick, just wander along a trite, minimalist path with no real dynamicity, and a whole lot of shameless manipulations that it does not have the inspiration to compensate for, resulting in a fantasy drama that has its fair share of fair moments, but ultimately fizzles out. When the bridge is cleared, you can find glimpses of decency through hauntingly well-done visuals, inspired performances and promising subject matter, but in the end, limitations within the meat of the subject matter are so intensely stressed by repetitious, incoherent and trite story structuring and cloying sentimentality that Gábor Csupó's "Bridge to Terabithia" ultimately crashes into mediocrity under the weight of laziness that is not matched by inspiration enough for me to escape the sad reality that this is nothing special. 2.25/5 - Mediocre
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Aug 20, 2012
    I love this movie. Driven by the chemistry and performances of Josh Hutcherson and AnnaSophia Robb, it ends up being an emotionally effective film about imagination and loss. Unfortunately, most of the supporting cast is really terrible. Especially the two kids who bully Hutcherson's character Jess. Other good performances include Robert Patrick as Jess' dad and Bailee Madison as his little sister. As for the premise, two young outcasts who go to the same school befriend and find a rope that they swing on in the woods to get to a made up "kingdom" they named Terabithia. Robb's character Leslie claims it's "a place just for them, where there are no Janice Avery's or Scott Hoager's (local bullies)." I can't help but admire that, having your own safe haven where nothing can affect you but you. The big twist in the final act is emotionally devastating, even for an adult movie, and brings the characters and the audience back to reality. Bridge to Terabithia is one of my favorite kids movies.
    Kevin M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 02, 2011
    I must say I did not see the second half of the film coming at all, it blew my emotional feelings in. It is not a film for children if you ask me. It is a charming, loving, and magical tale about a boy and girl who become friends and each is a little different, and they find a forest and make it there magical world, but then tragedy occurs. The young actors are amazing, they truly capture the drama and happiness. Don't show them this movie expecting the next Narnia, there is something much more dramatic in this movie, but I didn't like how Disney was advertising this as a sweet fantasy, when its not really. It was a great drama but dont take your kids to this.
    Bradley W Super Reviewer

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