Sunday, May 13, 2007

Bridge To Terabithia

Set in the rural United States some years ago, this "children's story" is about the developing friendship of a shy talented artistic boy and the equally talented daughter of two writers who moves in next door. They both attend a school dominated by bullying redneck children and find solace in a constructed fantasy (Terabithia) in the woods behind their houses. These children are pre-adolescent and their relationships are those of late childhood.

Reviews on the Odeon website were highly bi-modal. Those who gave it 1 out of 5 wanted many more special effects. Those who gave it 5 didn't care about the special effects, but saw it as a touching story of the struggle of talented children to survive and grow in an arid social and intellectual environment.

I guess the right audience for this would be 'art house young adult'. The film was well-made with non-stereotypical characterisation and genuine plot momentum, plus some surprises. We liked it a lot. Reflecting its 'young adult' focus, the plotting and individual motivation of supporting characters were a little linear. And all American films like this suffer from the tendency to wallow in sentimentality, but here the film remained within the envelope of acceptability.

It reminded me a little of the infinitely darker and more heavyweight 'Pan's Labyrinth', reviewed earlier here. Worth seeing.