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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
As with all of the Harry Potter movies, there are many positive messages, including the idea that every hero needs help to defeat evil; that everyone has a choice to do what's right, even if it's not easy; that some battles are greater than one person; that friends stand by each other until the end; and so much more. And the Forbidden Forest sequence demonstrates how those we love always live on in our hearts, even after they're dead.
Positive Role Models
Harry, Hermione, Ron, their Hogwarts friends, the Order of the Phoenix, and most of Hogwarts' professors are all positive role models -- they work together to fight Voldemort and his army, demonstrating teamwork, perseverance, and courage. As the titular hero, Harry is willing to sacrifice his life to save the wizarding world, but so is everyone who fights on his side, including some characters who surprise us with their bravery. Dumbledore's spirit returns to remind us once more that it's the choices we make that make all the difference. Different characters' choices illustrate selflessness, unexpected conscience, finding the courage to express love, and the idea that people aren't always what they seem.
Hermione plays an integral role working with Harry and Ron to defeat Lord Voldemort. Female witches of all ages join the battle against the Death Eaters, including Luna, Ginny, Mrs. Weasley, and Professor McGonagall. Narcissa Malfoy shows just how far a mother will go to protect her child. The main trio's return to Hogwarts means more visibility for characters of color, including Cho Chang, Padma Patil, Dean Thomas, and Blaise Zabini. Kingsley Shacklebolt, a Black member of the Order, also shows up. Otherwise, the main cast is predominantly White. Griphook, along with the other goblins at Gringotts Wizarding Bank, unfortunately embodies anti-Semitic tropes. He and Professor Flitwick are played by the same actor, who was born with the condition spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenital (SED), which caused his dwarfism.
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Violence & Scariness
This is by far the deadliest of the eight Potter films, with the highest body count and many upsetting deaths. Because the movie depicts the Battle of Hogwarts, the death toll is in the hundreds, including some favorite supporting characters. Their bodies are shown (eyes open, unmoving). The Gringotts break-in not only destroys the bank but also sparks bloody retribution from Voldemort (dead goblins are shown sprawled out). The Killing Curse is used, an evil snake kills an important character in a pretty gory scene with multiple bites and body slams, and a bully is enveloped in fire. Some bodies seem to disintegrate or burst. Harry, Ron, Hermione, and their friends face Death Eaters, Dementors, giants, huge spiders -- the whole of You Know Who's army. In one ethereal scene, the remains of a body are depicted as a gruesome newborn-like creature. Harry willingly faces death at one point in the movie.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
After seven movies, Ron and Hermione finally kiss -- as well as hold hands, embrace, and protect/comfort each other in a romantic manner. A married couple holds hands before a battle. Harry and Ginny share a brief kiss, and one character proclaims his intent to tell a girl he fancies her, since they might be dead in a few hours.
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Molly Weasley's famous line: "Not my daughter, you bitch!" is included verbatim, and a few characters (mostly Ron) say British slang like "bloody hell," "prat," and "numpty."
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Products & Purchases
There's no product placement in the movie, but Harry Potter-related merchandise is a huge money maker for Warner Bros. and J.K. Rowling.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the epic finale of the Harry Potter movie saga (all based on the books by J.K. Rowling), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, is the deadliest, most intense, and most touching installment of the lot. Because the majority of the movie is an all-out battle between Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) and his army against Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and his allies at Hogwarts, there's an extremely high body count -- including the deaths of several beloved supporting characters. Most happen off camera, but several bodies are shown. In a few scenes, everyone is bloodied and injured or dead, and it's brutal to watch (a shot of dead goblins is particularly gruesome, and one character's death at the fangs of an evil snake gets pretty gory). Despite the raging battle, Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) at last find a moment to snog and spend most of the movie holding on to each other; Harry and Ginny (Bonnie Wright) also share a quick kiss. And in the end, it's not the violence that viewers will take away, but the idea that every hero, no matter how brave, needs loyal friends to defeat evil and that love lives on even in the face of death. Themes include courage, perseverance, and teamwork. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Director David Yates has been at the helm of the Harry Potter series since the fifth film, and he sends it off with a spectacular finish. He switches from Part 1's sparse, atmospheric tone to a relentlessly intense war film in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. Grint and Watson add some much-needed levity with their sweet romantic overtures, but while they're off fighting Death Eaters hand-in-hand, it's Radcliffe's big moment to propel the action to Harry's final confrontation with Voldemort. Also shining brightly are Lewis' Neville, who, after years of being the class wallflower, proves just how brave a Gryffindor he is, and Kelly Macdonald, who plays a ghost with fiery intensity. Rickman gets his best scenes ever in a series of flashbacks that explore his true nature, and Maggie Smith is surprisingly gleeful as Professor McGonagall in warrior mode.
For once, Yates and screenwriter Steve Kloves' adaptation could have been even longer to properly represent crucial moments like Molly Weasley (Julie Walters) taking on Bellatrix Lestrange, or Ron and Hermione finally admitting their feelings through a kiss (neither scene is quite as heart-stopping in the film as on the page). Other sequences, like Harry's momentous walk in the Forbidden Forest, the Weasley family convening in grief, a look through Snape's memories, and even the controversial-to-readers epilogue, are all handled quite beautifully -- poignant moments of the heart to punctuate the nonstop action of the battle. Much of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is either a tearjerker or an epic battle scene -- sparks flying, wizards dueling, creatures crushing each other. It all builds up to a last indelible shot ... one that reminds us while all may be well, it's sad to know that the Harry Potter series has ended.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.