A heartbreaking family film is ruining childhoods all over again on Netflix

bridge to terabithia

Family films are supposed to offer undemanding entertainment for audiences of all ages, delivering whimsy and adventure in equal measure that sends viewers home happy after all of the various plot and character beats are wrapped up in satisfyingly wholesome fashion. While that’s generally the case, Bridge to Terabithia didn’t get the memo.

Rugrats co-creator Gábor Csupó directed the adaptation of Katherine Paterson’s 1977 novel, wringing every penny out of the $17 million budget to create an richly detailed world that was positively bursting with imagination. Josh Hutcherson and AnnaSophia Robb play the two lead roles of Jesse and Leslie, who quickly become firm friends after meeting.

Creating the imaginary world of Terabithia together, the duo spend their time dreaming up fantastical scenarios that pit them against all sorts of magical creatures, ruling the fictional kingdom as king and queen. Thanks to the superficially basic structure of the plot, the Disney-backed fairytale was marketed as a straightforward genre-based romp.

However, the third act delivers a shocking punch to the gut, one that fans of a certain generation are still struggling to come to terms with. Readers of the source novel would have known fine well what was coming, but that doesn’t lessen the impact in the slightest.

It’s a bold, brave, tragic, and heartbreaking moment in an otherwise-frivolous kids’ movie, which is why it made such a lasting impression on those left with their jaws on the floor. Fifteen years later, and Bridge to Terabithia is poised to ruin another set of childhoods, based on how the film is currently performing on Netflix.

As per FlixPatrol, the critical and commercial smash hit has scored multiple Top 10 finishes around the world, and you can guarantee plenty of tears will have been shed.