Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25
  1. Reviewed by: Jessica Grose
    Director Gabor Csupo of Rugrats "fame" steer clear of cutesy tween stereotypes, but it's Jess's relationship with his father, played by Robert Patrick, that elevates Terabithia from a good kids movie to a classic contender.
  2. Reviewed by: Alex Chun
    A wonderfully heart-wrenching love story for tweens, teens, and even adults who fondly remember when a friendship could be ignited by a gesture as simple as offering a stick of Juicy Fruit.
  3. 90
    The news is good for Bridge to Terabithia fans. The beloved children's book has not just survived but thrived in its adaptation to the screen.
  4. 88
    This is easily the best family feature of the early year.
  5. 83
    This is Csupo's feature directorial debut, but as creator, producer, and writer of "Rugrats" and "The Wild Thornberrys," among several other series, he's had a long career in animation, and he handles the CGI setpieces masterfully.
  6. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    A thoroughly pleasing family film with fine performances and honest, affecting real situations mixed with joyful adventure.
  7. Consistently smart and delicate as a spider web, Bridge to Terabithia is the kind of children’s movie rarely seen nowadays. And at a time when many public schools are being forced to cut music and art from the curriculum, the story’s insistence on the healing power of a nurtured imagination is both welcome and essential.
  8. When the special effects aren’t getting in the way, the kids’ imaginary scenes have a hazy, shimmering quality, as if the potential of a long afternoon with no homework could be measured in waves.
  9. 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.
  10. 75
    [Csupo's] take on Bridge to Terabithia doesn't pander or misrepresent, but instead illustrates the power of open-mindedness in both its forms: creativity and acceptance.
  11. Csupo needed two very gifted leads to do this beloved story justice, and found them in AnnaSophia Robb and Josh Hutcherson.
  12. 75
    Has buckets of gentle sincerity. Since there aren't any dumb jokes or hip visuals, it's easy to get caught up in the simple messages: Be good to your sister, don't be a bully, use your imagination in a pinch.
  13. Bridge to Terabithia the movie, like the book, is buckets-of-tears sad. Director Csupo and company manage to get that - the simple power of a story about kindred souls, about loss, about the limitless possibilities of a lively mind - just right.
  14. Bridge to Terabithia is a good movie, but it could become truly great with a director's cut that leaves the fantastic elements a little more vague.
  15. Reviewed by: Angel Cohn
    Parents should be warned that the novel ventures into some emotionally dark territory that could be upsetting to very young or sensitive children, and might want to consider reading and discussing the book together before seeing the film.
  16. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    It's like an After-School Special version of "Pan's Labyrinth ," and I actually mean that as a compliment.
  17. Both a cathartic and a creative family entertainment.
  18. The two young actors -- Hutcherson and Robb -- are terrific and unpretentious.
  19. There's a persistent innocence to this movie that will work wonders on all but the most churlish.
  20. 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.
  21. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Some literal-minded attempts at magical realism are redeemed by the film's emotional texture, winning chemistry between the tyke leads and scrupulous adherence to a childlike point of view.
  22. 70
    This family feature from the Christian production company Walden Media is something of a disappointment after its excellent "Holes" and "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe."
  23. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    For a movie about the power of imagination, Bridge to Terabithia is not as clever as you would hope.
  24. Reviewed by: Gregory Kirschling
    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.
  25. 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.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 205 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 65 out of 97
  2. Negative: 23 out of 97
  1. Sep 29, 2011
    "Bridge to Terabithia" is a preposterous movie. The book was absolutely sad, but the movie interprets the amazing story into a fluid one with eye candy visuals. Full Review »
  2. Apr 13, 2012
    I love this movie. I think it is a great movie and I believe the right cast was chosen. Josh Hutcherson was a great Jess, Annasophia Robb was a perfect Leslie, Bailee Madison was a cute Maybel, Zooey Dushenel was an good teacher. I think the creativity and imagination put into this book and then film was inspiring and a great family film. The ending was very sad and I felt for Jess. The was Josh showed us how Jess was feeling was incredible and more than I expected! Overall a lovely film and perfect for a family get together! Full Review »
  3. Oct 17, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. This was an English Task

    The fantasy film, “The Bridge to Terabithia” is about two young outsiders who use the power of imagination and their unique bond to create a world of their own. Filled with fantastic creatures and free of bullies and the pressures and loneliness of the real world, Terabithia provides a refuge from the sorrows of the real world created by their combined imagination and faith.

    Jess dreams of shaking his "loser" image by winning an annual foot race at school. Times are hard on the family farm, and Jess trains for the race in an old pair of sneakers held together by little more than duct tape and faith. But his dream is “dashed” when Leslie, the new girl in school, speeds past him and rest of the pack in the "boys only" race. Despite this rocky start, the two discover they have a lot in common and become fast friends. Both are outsiders, but they are also blessed with rich imaginations and creative talent—Jess for drawing and Leslie for telling stories. Over the course of the school year, they imagine an enchanted world of their own—a magical kingdom in the woods only accessible by swinging across a stream on a rope. They call their land Terabithia, and as king and queen, they fight against the Dark Master and his creatures.
    But their fantastical reveries are far from empty daydreaming; they prove to be therapeutic and instructive. Each adventure they complete and every troll or "hairy vulture" they vanquish represents a real life adversary or hurdle. The film explores the power of imagination and fantasy to help us understand and cope with the challenges and complexities of real life. They even learn that more often than not, the best weapon is kindness, and the most effective way to eliminate an enemy is to turn him or her into a friend. The film also explores the positive power of imagination. In order to create a better world, we must first be able to envision one, and more importantly, believe in it. Is it any wonder Jesus extolled the "faith of a child"?
    In a particularly lovely scene, Jess’ family takes Leslie to church, something she has never done before. Her "first impressions" of God and Jesus are heart-warming and revelatory. One life lesson that Jess and Leslie's adventures do not prepare them for is how to cope with death. Yet, even in Terabithia, death is part of the cycle of life—even sudden, senseless death. The Author has defended the death as an important and realistic element in the story. Seeing how the characters both cope with and heal from this tragedy is revealing and comforting. Although this may be a story filled with fantasy, it is primarily a story about dealing with real life struggles, including coping with loss.
    The problem with “The Bridge to Terabithia” is the aforementioned (a fancy word I found) make-believe. They’re showing us the world through the eyes of these kids, so when they start imagining that they’re in their own fantastical world of Terabithia; we see what they’re imagining in their heads as if it’s real. That means a little bit of CGI. Not a lot, but enough to be annoying. Fantasy beasts just don’t fit a film that’s otherwise so wonderfully rooted in the soil of reality, and those few sequences when they’re forced upon us don’t really grab our attention very much. There’s never any question of whether or not their appearance is merely a product of the kid’s imagination, so watching Jesse fight a giant squirrel isn’t the most interesting part of the film. There’s no sense of danger or doubt about the outcome. It’s just doesn’t grab your attention.

    Describing the wonders of scuba diving in a school essay, Leslie writes, "I didn’t have enough air to see everything I wanted to, and that just made it more special." In a way, this line also describes a central message of the film: We should cherish the time we’re given and the people and experiences in our lives, because we never know how long it will last. Bridge to Terabithia is an endlessly imaginative and deeply compassionate film about building bridges between people and forging bonds—with fathers, teachers, neighbours and even bullies. Sometimes, as they say in the film, all you need to do is believe and "keep your mind wide open."
    Full Review »