Don't be fooled by the CGI-laden, Narnia-lite trailers for Bridge to Terabithia: Far from a computer-generated escapist fantasy, this film is an unpretentious and touching tale of preteen companionship and loss. Terabithia is the story of fifth-grade loner Jess Aarons (Josh Hutcherson), whose sensitive, artistic temperament isolates him from the towheaded bullies at school and his hardheaded father at home. Liberation from solitude comes in the form of sprightly Leslie (AnnaSophia Robb), whose flair for fiction and exaggerated anime cuteness brings Jess out of his shell. The pair form a bond based on a made-up world called Terabithia, located in the woods behind their homes. Director Gabor Csupo (of Rugrats "fame") brings out nuanced performances from Hutcherson and Robb, whose characters steer clear of cutesy tween stereotypes. But it's Jess' relationship with his father, played by Robert Patrick, that elevates Terabithia from a good kids movie to a classic contender.
Director: Gabor Csupo
Writer: David Paterson, Katherine Paterson and Jeff Stockwell
Producer: Philip Anschutz, Lauren Levine, Hal Lieberman and David Paterson
Cast: Josh Hutcherson, AnnaSophia Robb, Zooey Deschanel, Lauren Clinton, Bailee Madison and Robert Patrick