My daughter wanted to go to the movies, and she’d loved Narnia, so we went to see The Bridge to Terabithia. Let me just say that it was one of the worst films I’ve ever seen. The story meanders, characters appear and disappear. Nothing is resolved. And the ending absolutely terrified me. What was that kid going to do with his little sister? I had the distinct impression she would end up cut into little pieces…
Let me go back a little here, for those who have never seen the movie. And if you haven’t, don’t bother, and whatever you do, don’t take your kids, especially, as my daughter said, if your kid is bullied at school, is troubled, or has no friends. Because for what it’s worth, the moral of the story is: When your best friend dies, everyone is nice to you and your life suddenly has a meaning.
My daughter is 12, and here is her verdict: “That movie was the stupidest movie I’ve ever seen. What happened to the girl’s mother? How could she have hit her head, there were thick weeds and water everywhere? Why did the boy make his music teacher feel so guilty? It wasn’t her fault. How come the big mean girl is suddenly so nice? That’s just stupid.”
Well, she’s twelve and I’m translating from French here, but you get my gist. And the kids leaving the movie theater looked, for the most part, disappointed and confused.
“I kept waiting for the fantasy world to become real,” said my daughter. “But it only became real in the end in the boy’s head, and that’s scary.”
Yup. Scary. The boy retreats into a fantasy world, and he brings his baby sister with him, after swearing her to utter secrecy. “Do not tell Anyone about this,” he tells her, and brings her into the woods.
Any child psychologist would be leaping up in his seat yelling, “No! Bring her back!”
Anyhow, the whole movie creeped me out.
My daughter’s parting thoughts were, “there was no valid reason to kill that nice girl. No reason at all. It was just plain stupid.”
I get pissed when authors use the shock of killing someone in order to spice up their otherwise colorless and boring books. This was no different, and yet, there was a story to be told. The story of a lonely boy in a financially troubled family. If he’d solved his problems in the real world instead of retreating into an imaginary world, the story would have worked. But no problem was resolved by the boy, and in the end he was in a world of his own imagination where, I imagine, live the same lonely boys who find guns and destroy their enemies by violence, which is the only thing that seems to work.
When your best friend dies, everyone is nice to you.
Scary.

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