Now Showing: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

Disclaimer: Many Harry Potter fans sit in the theater picking the movie apart in terms of being an accurate adaptation, but I believe the film should stand alone as a part of its own art form, which is first and foremost a film, not a book. I’m NOT saying that the books aren’t amazing – I do think that they are – but I AM saying that I’m going to look at this film as its own entity, so stop reading now if you are looking for a comparative piece.

That being said, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 is actually a good film. Even though its title is quite the mouthful. The acting is well done (with some notable exceptions, which I will get to). The directing is impressive, with the help of some wonderful set design. And the underlying themes of the film will always be prevalent, but they work particularly well now.

You’ve been living under a rock, you say? Good, because I’m about to explain the plot of Harry Potter, so brace yourself. Part one of the seventh film in the series picks up at the end of summer. (Need a reminder of where we left off? Get it here.) Voldemort’s rise to power is in hyperdrive. Ever the multi-tasker, Voldemort is trying to find and kill Harry while also searching for another unknown mystical object. Harry, Ron, and Hermione are trying to find some mystical objects as well. Horcruxes are divided up parts of Voldemort’s soul that need to be destroyed in order to kill him. The BFFs are also coping with the death of Dumbledore (and trying to understand the weird sh*t he left them in his will). Ron and Hermione remain crazy for each other, but still won’t make out already.

And you thought you had problems just because they stopped selling Four Loko at the convenience store.

Daniel Radcliffe and Bonnie Wright, who play Harry and Ginny respectively, are not very good at pretending that they like each other. Which is fine, because they have about four seconds of screen time together, but their crushes are just impossible to believe. They are so awkward, then they randomly kiss (pretty sure they don’t speak a word after that), then he doesn’t mention her for the rest of the movie. Okay, true love.

On the other hand, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson are really given their chance to shine in this movie and they are impressive actors. If it was never really clear why Ron and Hermione were Gryffindors, except to be Harry’s loyal best friends, this film makes it clear by really showcasing their bravery. In a way, Grint and Watson allowed their characters to grow up with them, which is why their romantic relationship seems believable as well. Unlike Radcliffe and Wright, they weren’t afraid to push their characters to develop. Keep in mind, Radcliffe does a fine job as Harry, but he definitely does not exceed expectations when it comes to Harry as a romantic entity.

The series, in general, has a lot of themes that are worth exploring. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 is able to really push the theme of equality, and it could not have come at a better time. Bullies degrading others because of the way that they are, or were born. People who have been doing the same job and working with the same people for years, but then they are removed from that position because of who they are. People who have to hide the truth about themselves, because if they are honest, they know they will be tortured. In the film, this happens in the form of the Ministry of Magic weeding out their “mudblood” employees. And I hope that in Part 2, the film will do a great job of reminding us that it gets better.

If you haven’t seen the other six films or read the books, you’re probably not going to have a clue what’s going on. But I would encourage you to check the series out, because it does have a lot of heart, and one day your kids are probably going to ask you about it. If you enjoy Harry Potter or are a die-hard fan, I don’t think you’re going to be disappointed with the film.

Click here to get Meredith’s take on other new releases.

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