Childhood’s End

Image from Deathly Hallows shows Harry Potter outdoors

I wasn’t a big fan of the last Harry Potter movie.

It struck me as a collection of scenes, focused too much on hitting the high points of plot without a smooth narrative through-line. This happened, and then this happened, and then this happened. The problem culminated at the end of the movie, when the identity of the titular Half-Blood Prince is revealed in a complete anticlimax, utterly lacking in impact because the fragmented movie had failed to develop any suspense or even interest in said prince.

The new “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” on the other hand, struck me as the antithesis of its predecessor, and extremely agreeably so.

If “Half-Blood Prince” was plagued by too many plot points and not enough cohesiveness; “Deathly Hallows” was all cohesiveness with nothing happening, but beautifully so.

The movie is all about tone. It captures the themes of friendship and hope in an oppressive world of adversity and hopelessness. Every seen contributes to the incredibly textured emotional tapestry. Sure, things happen, but they seem less important as plot points than as contributions to the overall feeling.

Most impressive in the film is the nuance. “Deathly Hallows” communicates volumes without saying much at all. They characters say more with a quiet word than with speeches, or even when they say nothing at all. Having grown up on screen, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint now own their characters and have more talent than most actors three times their age to be incredibly expressive with just a slight gesture, a small change in facial expression.

One of the more notable accomplishments of the Harry Potter book series is that the books grew up as the characters did, and with “Deathly Hallows,” there’s no question than the movie series has done the same. All along, the content has been become less childish, but now, the film, like the actors, has truly matured.