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Bridge to Terabithia Review Critics


Dave White Profile

… smart, moving … Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Though the first-time director, Gabor Csupo, has achieved distinction as an animation artist, he lacks experience directing actors. The best adult performance in the film is that of Zooey Deschanel; she comes off -- again, agreeably -- as self-directed.

  • 58

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly

    The movie -- which never decides if it's a fantasy or coming-of-age story -- spends a lot of time away from Terabithia; that also leaches out the wonder. The boy seems more excited that Zooey Deschanel is his hottie music teacher than he is to see tree men in the forest.

    Read Full Review

  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    For a movie about the power of imagination, Bridge to Terabithia is not as clever as you would hope.

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  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Michael Rechtshaffen

    The fantasy-adventure incorporates the novel's magical and emotional elements without overplaying either -- a balance that hasn't always proven easy to maintain in the world of kid-lit adaptation.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Wilmington

    Elaborately mounted, expensively produced and filmed with style and empathy, it's an adaptation of Paterson's Newbery Medal-winning book that manages to expand the original vision, yet preserve much of its intense emotion.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    This is easily the best family feature of the early year.

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  • See all Bridge to Terabithia reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 8+

Beautiful lesson in friendship for young and old.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie based on Katherine Paterson's classic children's novel isn't a fantasy adventure as much as it is a thoughtful drama. The story includes mature themes about loneliness, platonic love, parental affection, family relationships, religious/class differences, and even death. For example, a financially troubled father is emotionally distant from his son, while the mother seems too overwhelmed with five kids to connect to any of them. At school, kids are ridiculed because of their appearance, and a bully and her associates routinely terrorize younger kids. Potential spoiler alert: Due to a central character's death, sensitive children (or those who've experienced the loss of a loved one) may need to be comforted after the film.

  • Families can talk about what made Jess and Leslie such good friends. What did they teach each other? Were they boyfriend and girlfriend or something different? Why is that rare?
  • Why was it so important for Jess and Leslie to have a "place just for us"? Kids: Do you have your own special place, or your own Jess or Leslie?
  • If you've read the novel, how is the movie different? Parents should encourage kids who haven't read it yet to get a copy. And if you're willing, read along -- it's a wonderful book. For more ideas, see our discussion guide.

The good stuff
  • educationalvalue true1

    Educational value: Kids will learn important lessons about friendship and imagination.

  • message true3

    Messages: Through an incredible friendship, a child learns that if you open your mind and heart, you can unlock the magic and the beauty in every person and situation. Strong messages about individuality. There are also serious themes relating to loneliness and even death, but they're treated thoughtfully.

  • rolemodels true3

    Role models: Leslie is a strong, creative, independent role model for tween girls. Jess is less sure of himself but undergoes some profound changes over the course of the movie. Some pranks are played at others' expense, but the instigators either get appropriately punished or feel contrite.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence and scariness: A main character has a tragic accident. With cause, a boy punches another boy in the face. A teen bully pushes and menaces younger kids.

  • sex false1

    Sexy stuff: The main characters share an intense, affectionate friendship. Characters write a fake love letter to a teenage girl. A boy stares at and has an obvious crush on a teacher.

  • language false2

    Language: Mild insults among siblings and school-aged kids; a father makes a couple of hurtful comments. A few uses of "damn" and "hell."

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: Barbie dolls, Twinkies, and Oreos make brief appearances.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not an issue