* don’t read this if you haven’t seen the movie yet – I don’t want to ruin it for you.
Wow… I just got home from the dollar movie. Bridge to Terabithia was NOT what I expected, but it was powerful. Boy (Jess) meets new girl (Leslie) in school. New girl has a vivid imagination and a creative spirit. She teaches the boy to open up his mind and see the world of possibilities. Boy is introduced to Terabithia, a land of wonder just a rope swing across the river.
The girl is luminescent. She is a bringer of light to a dull existence. And in a single moment, she is gone. Boy is left alone, haunted by her absence. Alone with a half-created world of imagination as the most tangible evidence of her existence.
Let me tell you, this was no ordinary children’s film. Those of you who have read the book will, of course, not be too surprised by the film’s events. I’d never read the book, so this film was fresh and new and powerful. The loss you feel when the Jess loses Leslie is choking. Something powerful about the sense of loss we feel at the prospect of dying young.
Even more touching is the fact that the girl who is lost is someone unique. The boy is a talented artist. We somehow feel it is a greater loss for the tragedy to touch a boy and a girl so enraptured by imagination and the thrill of living.
To lose someone angry, abusive, or evil is something else entirely. But we seem to so rarely come across a person who inspires us to live differently that we consider it an infinitely greater tragedy when one of them passes away.