Don’t be duped by the trailers: Bridge To Terabithia is no Narnia knock-off. If it’s flights of fancy you’re after then there’s plenty to goggle at, but at heart this is an intimate coming-of-ager anchored in the awkward realities of tween-hood. Based on Katherine Paterson’s ’70s tome, it stars Zathura moppet Josh Hutcherson as misfit middle-schooler Jess, whose gloomy life (bullied in class, ignored at home) brightens up with the arrival of tomboy Leslie (AnnaSophia Robb). Friendship blossoms, cemented by woodland larks in a made-up world spiced with magical (alright, CG) riffs on the pair’s daily woes. Smart, sprightly and sensitive, this is like a junior-edition Heavenly Creatures , complete with ace chemistry and tragic twist. Ignore a few sappy songs and you’ve got a winningly grown-up kids’ flick. Icing on the cake? The Weta-powered trips to Terabithia fizz with Jacksonian flair.
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