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Bridge to Terabithia (2007)
A unique movie that captures the imagination of childhood - beautiful and profound
Originally the only thing I knew about this movie was that Zooey Deschanel was in it, one of my favorite actresses. I had always put off watching it because it is a children's movie, but I was given the opportunity to view it when I was looking after some children. I admit that I made the assumption beforehand that it was "just a children's movie", and along with the description of fantasy, kids fighting ogres and monsters, and magical castles, it would not be the kind of movie I would want to watch.
Boy was I wrong. Yes, it's a children's movie, but the messages in it are beautiful and profound, and can and are applied to the struggles and heartbreaks of everyday life, and especially, how we deal with those difficulties. The story centers around the friendship of a young boy and a young girl, both who have had their fair share of difficulties in life, one being finding lasting friendship. They bond through their need to escape ordinary life, and delve into their own fantasy world where there are beautiful castles, rolling hills, endless sunshine, and one or two foes to defeat. This fantasy world is their own way of dealing with what life throws at them - for Leslie (the talented AnnaSophia Robb), it's trying to fit in and finding somewhere she belongs, as well as the feeling of loneliness from being an only child with parents who are working 24/7; and for Jesse (Josh Hutcherson), it's dealing with feeling excluded from his family, and feeling alone at school and dealing with bullies.
Special mention has to go to AnnaSophia Robb, who portrays Leslie perfectly and with an air of enthusiasm you cannot fake; blue-eyed Zooey Deschanel who plays Leslie and Jesse's teacher, with her beautiful singing voice and wonderful manner around children; and last but not least, young Bailee Madison, who plays Jesse's sister May Belle, who put on a magnificent performance unseen from someone so young.
If you focus on the fantasy/imaginative aspect of the film you will lose sight of the real messages, all of which are most definitely profound. Leslie and Jesse find in each other a true friend, whilst each discovering just how special and unique they really are. Throw into the mixture some school bullies who have problems of their own, Jesse's innocent crush on his music teacher, Ms. Edmonds (Zooey Deschanel), and of course, the incredible CGI and beautiful music, you'll have a movie that will stay with you for a very long time.