An old proverb says a rich man has many friends. Friendship is definately the overriding theme in this movie. Based off the book by Katherine Patterson, Disney and Walden Media have given us the tear jerker of the year. When you watch this movie make sure you have a box of kleenexes.
While friendship is by far an overriding theme in the movie there are several underriding themes in the film. One being the use of imagination. Having worked with kids for the last ten years of my life their imagination never ceases to amaze me. I often wish I could have just such an imagination. Something else that came out in the film was how much reality can kill your imagination. I was struck with how much Jesse Aarons, played by Josh Hutcherson, really began to embrace the new world being opened up to him by Leslie Burke, played by AnnaSophia Robb. Two kids, both outcasts strike up an unusual friendship that can literally create new worlds. This is the power of a young imagination.
Another thing that came out during the movie is a discussion between Jess, May Belle (Jess's little sister) and Leslie. "You gotta believe the Bible Leslie, God'll damn everybody to hell if you don't believe the Bible." "How could a God who created all this damn everybody to hell?" I believe Leslie hit the nail on the head so without giving my own dissertation on the meaning, I will let you, my reader, to chew on the meaning, the full meaning and implication, of those words.
Along with good friends in this film you also have bullies. You know the type. The ones that stole your twinkie, rubbed gum in your hair, spit in your face over all made your life hell. Jess has those too, her name is Janice Avery, played by Lauren Clinton. As children you were told to not mind the bullies because bullies are just cowards. This comes out in the film and at several points in the film Jess nearly overcomes his fear of the two eight grade boys that torment him, and his fear of Janice, only to find himself cowaring in the corner. It is only whe Jess faces his fears in his imaginary world that he is able to overcome his fears in reality and maybe even become friends.
Overall a very powerful film. However, this movie is definately on the list of "watch only if you want to cry." I don't normally cry during movies, my eyes were misting on the way out of this film.