Thursday, August 06, 2009

I believe in Terabithia

I watched an incredible movie last night. A movie which is not The Godfather or
Raging Bull or A Clockwork Orange or Amelie or any other critically-acclaimed classic for that matter but a movie which sure did a lot to tug at my heart-strings. The name of this movie happens to be Bridge To Terabithia. And even though there is a 90-10 chance you haven't heard the name of this movie before it will undoubtedly make the list of my favorite movies ever.

Why you ask?
Because it just taught me a very important lesson - something that I haven't been able to learn otherwise during the course of my life. It just taught me to believe. Believe in trolls, believe in evil squorges, believe in the existence of an alternative world called Terabithia where Jess and Leslie are king and queen. Believe in things that don't exist to the rational mind. Believe in something outside the cruel, harsh truths of our so-called existence.
I am sounding hazy ain't I? Maybe a summary of the movie will help.

Jesse 'Jess' Aarons is an average loserly 12 year-old school-goer who hails from a not-so-affluent family. Constantly over-shadowed by older and younger siblings and being picked on at school Jess seeks solace in painting whatever that pops up in his mind's eye. He is gifted too. But sadly enough his parents, who are caught up with making ends meet and taking care of so many children, are too busy to notice.
Now enter new transfer student at school Leslie Burke-cute, blond, tom-boyish with short hair who outruns Jess during practices on the very first day. And Jess isn't so thrilled about the idea of a girl beating him at something he was good at. So initially Leslie's attempts at befriending him are snubbed coldly. But she keeps on trying and eventually manages to reach out to him. And the two forge an unlikely bond.


Having finally found friendship worth having, both Jess and Leslie chance upon a rope hanging from a tree a few yards away from their houses one day. And using it as a medium to swing across a narrow channel they cross over to the unknown other side. Here they find a run-down car, a dilapidated tree-house, gigantic trees and a new world altogether. No not technically. But they choose to believe that it is a different world-a world where anything is possible. And Leslie names this land of their fantasies -Terabithia.


Each day after school Jess and Leslie would make a run for the swing and crossing over to Terabithia, they'd plan different ways to thwart the attempts of the evil Dark Master to bring mayhem to their kingdom. After all they were King and Queen of this land and it was their duty to keep it safe.
Together they rebuilt the broken down tree-house, stuffed their belongings in there and made Terabithia their home. It became their refuge from the dreariness of the outside world, from the insipidity of everyday domestic life. Here they could loosen the grip on their overtly imaginative minds and believe in things that they wanted to. Even though initially it's difficult for Jess, after Leslie asks him to 'keep your mind open' he starts seeing things differently.

And as their faith in Terabithia grows stronger they learn to cope with problems at school like getting even with the bullies who used to make their lives miserable, forming an unusual friendship with the attractive, young music-teacher on whom Jess apparently has a crush and similar such things.
Life was going well for Jess and Leslie. But then tragedy stroke.
One day while Jess is on an art-museum tour with his music-teacher, Leslie, while trying to cross over to Terabithia with the aid of the rope, slips up and drowns in the rain-swollen creek.
And in a moment Jess's world crumbles. All his beliefs are shattered. He refuses to accept the truth and goes searching for Leslie in Terabithia shouting her name again and again. And strangely enough she replies back...or that's what he assumes until he discovers that the reply had actually come from his kid sister May Belle who had been following him into his secret place. Angered and frustrated he shoves her to the ground and runs away into the woods.

Reality catches up fast. Dreams shatter soon enough. And Jess realizes this all too well. But his dad, who had so far always managed to ignore his existence, comes to his rescue for the first time. Consoling him he says that Leslie brought something special to him and only by cherishing it can he keep her alive. And finally Jess understands.
He doesn't have to give up on Terabithia after all. Working hard day and night he constructs a wooden bridge across the channel and finally one day taking his sister May Belle by the hand leads her into Terabithia and tells her everything about it. Finally after apologizing for his previous rude behavior Jess asks her to become the princess of Terabithia and after she accepts his offer, crowns her with a tiara made out of leaves and flowers. Thus Terabithia survives. And so does Jess. And so do we.

When I was a kid I firmly believed that Santa Claus was a real man who had a secret life just like Superman and could only be seen dressed in red on Christmas day - during other times of the year he lived as an ordinary man in some part of the world, probably engaged in some uninteresting profession like the rest of us. I also believed that the evil spirits of Evil Dead were going to follow me to my apartment from the theater (um I was kinda young when I watched the sequel to the first movie-highly unwise thing to have done)

But, of course, now I don't. Because I've been taught to believe in things, the physical existence of which, have been confirmed from a scientific point of view. And surely enough Santa Claus and ghosts don't make the list. Nor does God.
Now all we believe in is nuclear weaponry, nanotechnology(just read Prey :P), war, religious fanaticism, competitiveness, career, money and so on...because of course these things make the real world. But what exactly have we gotten out of believing in these things and rejecting God (playing atheists) and traits such as selflessness, compassion, empathy? - Nothing. Nada. Nil.
Instead we've lost everything worth being treasured.
And so I think it's time to start believing again. Believing in goodness of the human heart, believing in helping somebody who needs it without expecting something in return, believing in love and friendship, believing that in spite of so many differences in religion, nationality, culture and language we're all the same.
Because without our beliefs we can't live. Exist maybe but not live.
And it's high time that we quit just existing and started living again.




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15 comments:

Nightwing said...

nice review.....better than the ones i read in the newspapers... and you are right in a way i guess...but sorry!!not my kind of movie...

Atindriyo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Atindriyo said...

Ah.....Childhood.....Lost Innocence......Madness in methods.....It's the feeling you know, the feeling..... Of those countless afternoons spent in the worlds of Tintin, Professor Shonku, The Little Prince, Pinocchio, Peter Pan, Goopy and Bagha.....rambling with Shankar in the forests of ChNader Pahar.....Riding with Aragorn through the terrains of Caradhrus......It's a beautiful world.....Like Peristan in Lila Majumdar's Tongling......
I've heard of this film.It's a beautiful review.....You could recreate the passion and innocence to a considerable extent....Now I must watch this one.....And you must watch A Clockwork Orange.... to maintain the balance between fantasy and brutal reality......

Quintessence Of Illusion said...

The review is beautifully written.........even i watched the movie .......a few days back.......and i was totally mesmerised.......

Samadrita said...

@Nightwing:I doubt that.This movie is ANYONE's kind of movie.I guarantee you won't be disappointed.Just give it a try :)

@Atindriyo:Sure thing.I was planning on downloading the movie actually.

@Writu:Yay someone who has watched the movie!Wonderful wasn't it?

Dylan said...

I remember watching this. Unfortunately it had terrible timing. It released close on the heals on the first Narnia movie and I think Harry Potter was close too. People were sick of fantasy-blah-blah at the time. But, yeah, its good :)

Ipsita Shome said...

U are following me
How did u find me?????

U write well btw :)

Samadrita said...

@Dylan:Yea but this isn't like all those other fantasy movies.way way different.And much better than HP or Narnia.I feel so at least!

@Ipsita:Thanks :)

Ranjith said...

hey, your writing is great.. wish you for that...btw,a m not into movies , so no movie related comment...and great post...

Samadrita said...

@Ranjith:Thanks buddy!But why aren't you into movies?

heavealie said...

bidge to terabithia was beautifully directed and the two lead actors josh(little Manhattan was awesome) and annasophia(have dreams,will travel) added that magic which was required for this kind of a movie.yeah we know that life is not like a fairytale but why not just like the song says 'keep our mind wide open for all the possibilities'.last but not the least review was nice as simple and yet as calm as the movie.why do they always have to give away that goodbye sign before killing someone in a movie.as i always say 'world of fantasy is not far away'.

Samadrita said...

@heavealie:Yea the movie really touched me in a way I'd never forget.I'm glad I didn't decide on giving it a skip assuming it to be another Chronicles of Narnia-ish flick.
Btw thanks for the blog visit.Hoping you'd come again :)

heavealie said...

ohh btw!!if u get the tym pls check out my blog i mostly write poems.just started short fiction.my blogs name is "ashes" check the blog in omkars list.

Akansha Agrawal said...

I watched the same same movie... and wrote a review too... it's an awesome movie... :D

Ankur Anand said...

Lovely Review .... :)

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