I went to movies for the first time in awhile last night, mostly as an excuse to get out of the house, but partially out of an intense curiosity. I will be completely honest with you - I used to adore the Harry Potter novel series, but by the time the last book was released, I had lost all passion for it and didn't even pick the thing up. When the last film came out however long ago, I didn't even muster the energy to see it. I only ended up watching it because my boyfriend of some months ago had a DVD copy on a day when I was sick in bed and feeling whimsical and nostalgic.
I get intimidated by large crowds freaking out about any pop culture phenomenon. I don't go to very many legitimate concerts, am not a huge fan of midnight openings, would not call myself a 'fangirl' of anything or anyone (except maybe vampires - and not the Twilight kind - and definitely Ryan Adams). So when my entire family went to see the latest Harry installment without me, I wasn't all that upset. Nothing about the previews made me excited for it, and I figured it would only be a matter of time until it was on demand on cable at my apartment, so I'd get to it eventually. But then the boredom struck. I was sitting home alone in the rain, the cats ignoring me and nothing of merit on TV. So I decided now was as good a time as any to give it a shot. I know I don't sound very enthusiastic in this retelling, but that's because I wasn't.
But once actually in the theater, I felt that feeling that I often had while reading the books - that though sometimes predictable or a little corny, the events of the story were somehow very resonant with what I've gone through. The movie took awhile to get going, but since I am now so far removed from being a reader of the books, I was able to appreciate the film separate from its origins; and I was impressed. I expect this series to be a lot of flash and action (maybe because the one that rests most clearly in my mind in the fourth installment with the Triwizard Tournament and all the dragons and daring wand battles that entailed), but the movie was quiet and heartfelt in a way I was caught off-guard by. Harry, Ron, and Hermione (and the actors that play them) have reached a place of subtlety and reality that I never thought could exist within Hogwarts, a place where bombast and leaps of faith abound.
There is a scene in the Great Hall that is very dark, both literally and figuratively, when a gust of wind blows all of the hovering candles out. I literally got chills, and this shot can be symbolic for a lot of the moments that I am really taken with from the movie. There were so many gorgeous shots that allowed themselves to be simple and have that sparse beauty enough. Harry's encounters with the pensieve are probably the best example of this: instead of going an overblown and melodramatic route, when a memory is poured out of a vial, it simply looks like ink expanding in water, and that simplicity is a condition that threads through the film. I found myself crying several times over the course of the few hours I sat there, and though it seems almost laughable in retrospect, that simplicity and the honesty of the emotions expressed so effectively by David Yates and his cast was absolutely arresting.
I haven't written a movie review on here in awhile, and that's probably because I am no longer dating a film student, nor do I have the time to watch four or five movies a week, but I felt I had to talk about this movie. Without the overlay of the wizard world and the menace of the rising powers of evil, the story is only one of the family we acquire and surround ourselves with as we become adults. This has always been beneath the story, but it can be seen most clearly in this film, where moments of love are palpable in a way I expect from some sleeper indie hit and not a blockbuster children's film with one of the biggest opening weekends of all time. Bravo Harry, for surprising me and making me believe all over again.