A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Positive messages include the idea that every hero needs help to defeat evil; that "blood status" (the magical equivalent of racial purity) isn't important; that all kinds of people -- magical and non-magical -- should be able to co-exist peacefully; and that some things, some battles are greater than one person. Hermione's choice to stay with Harry even though she loves Ron shows the importance of staying true to your word and the possibility and power of redemption. Themes include courage, perseverance, and teamwork.
Positive Role Models
Harry, Hermione, Ron, and all the members of the Order of the Phoenix are positive role models -- they use teamwork, perseverance, and courage against the scariest villains and toughest of odds. By defying his former masters, Dobby shows free will, loyalty, and friendship. Even though Voldemort's cronies have taken over the Ministry, the actions of the Order, the central trio, and Dobby are strong examples of how even the humblest creatures can do amazing things.
Hermione takes center stage alongside Harry and Ron as the trio seeks to fulfill Dumbledore's mission. She repeatedly demonstrates her abilities as a capable and quick-thinking witch, while also expressing a range of emotions in response to the increasingly complex relationships with her two closest friends. Ginny and Luna Lovegood play supporting roles. Dolores Umbridge and Bellatrix Lestrange return as wickedly entertaining villains. Kingsley Shacklebolt, a Black member of the Order of the Phoenix, briefly appears.
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Violence & Scariness
The body count in this movie is the highest of all the adaptations to date. Several characters -- mostly recurring supporting players, but also a couple of newly introduced ones -- are killed, mostly via the Killing Curse. One beloved character dies after suffering a bloody knife wound. While on the run, the central trio is each injured -- Hermione is tortured, Ron's shoulder is severely hurt, and Harry nearly drowns while being choked by a cursed locket. A character loses his ear to a Death Eater (bloody wound visible). Muggle-born characters are shown being whisked away against their will -- toruture/mistreatment is implied. The good guys face down Death Eaters, Dementors, Snatchers, and, in one gruesome scene, a man-eating snake that bursts out of a dead body. Weapons include wands and fists in most of those fights.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Ginny asks Harry to zip up her dress, and then turns around and exposes a strip of bare back (all the way down to her waist) to him. They then kiss. Lots of flirting and longing looks, as well as embraces between Ron and Hermione. An evil, ghostly version of Harry and Hermione torment Ron by embracing and kissing passionately while appearing nearly nude (their torsos are visible, but it's all very blurry/misty).
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Frequent use of British slang like "bloody," "bleeding," and "git," plus "damn," "piss," "ass," "hell," and "oh my God" said once or twice. The insults "Mudblood" and "blood traitor" -- which are the wizarding world's equivalent of nasty racist terms -- are said several times as well.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Champagne glasses are magically filled at a wedding reception, and people eating at a large dinner table are shown with goblets in front of them, but no one is really drinking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, the second-to-last installment in the epic Harry Potter movie saga (all based on the books by J.K. Rowling) is the darkest, most intense yet. It has the highest body count of any Potter film, including the deaths of several recurring characters -- some of which are particularly emotional and upsetting. Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint), Hermione (Emma Watson), and their friends are bloodied, injured, and cursed. In one startling "jump" scene, Lord Voldemort's (Ralph Fiennes) giant killer snake bursts out of an old woman's body; there's also a particularly disturbing torture scene in which a major character is branded with an insult. Expect lots of longing looks and protective embraces between Ron and Hermione, a passionate snog between Harry and Ginny (Bonnie Wright), and a scene of "ghost" versions of Harry and Hermione tormenting Ron with a sensual kiss (they appear to be nude, and you can see their torsos, but it's quite blurry/misty). Despite the amped-up angst and violence, the characters prove again and again that unconditional friendship, loyalty, and love can survive even the most harrowing of threats. Courage, perseverance, and teamwork remain core themes. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The movie alternates between being a frenetic, nail-biting thriller and a slow-moving adolescent relationship drama set against a beautifully shot, expansive backdrop. Director David Yates, back for his third Potter film, speeds through the action sequences early in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 -- like the fantastic Seven Potters scene, in which six of Harry's friends masquerade as him so that they can help move him to safety. But the second act, when Harry, Ron, and Hermione are camping, hiding, and waiting for inspiration can lag, though there's a sweet moment between Harry and Hermione that needs no words. The series' most fervent fans may feel disappointed that some scenes and characters were barely in the movie; it would have been great to see more of Remus (David Thewlis), the Weasleys (especially the twins and Ginny), Neville (Matthew Lewis, who only gets one line), and more. And an entire review could be dedicated to all of the important details in the novel that didn't make the cut.
Despite this, there are fabulous supporting performances by Bill Nighy as the Minister of Magic; Rhys Ifans as Quibbler editor Xenophilous Lovegood; Toby Jones as selfless, noble Dobby; and Evanna Lynch, who's always been pitch-perfect as delightfully quirky Luna Lovegood. There are some great moments of physical comedy, too. As always, though, the heart of the movie comes down to Radcliffe, Grint, and Watson, all of whom give touching, nuanced portrayals as they deal with complicated emotions and terrifying circumstances. Grint in particular is finally able to show some depth as he struggles to balance his love for Hermione, his jealousy of Harry, and his general sense of insecurity. These aren't three kids any more: They're a 17-year-old hero and his best friends, willing to give up everything to save the wizarding world. It's a massive undertaking to depict, and Part 2 provides an appropriately awesome ending.
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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.