Australian Council on Children and the Media

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows P1

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Not suitable under 13, PG 13-15 due to themes, violence (including torture) and disturbing scenes

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows P1
  • a review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows P1 completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 18 November 2010.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not suitable due to supernatural themes, violence (including torture) and disturbing scenes
Children 13-14 Parental guidance recommended due to supernatural themes, violence (including torture) and disturbing scenes
Children 15 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows P1
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Fantasy themes and violence
Length 146 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

This film is the first of two based on the seventh book in the Harry Potter series.

Harry (Daniel Radcliff) is now at the end of his time at Hogwarts. The dark lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) has become very powerful and sees Harry as his greatest enemy and the greatest threat to his existence. Voldemort is determined to survive no matter what the cost. When he was young he split his soul into seven parts, each of them being called a Horcrux. He has hidden these all over the world and Harry is determined to find each one and destroy them.

Harry leaves Hogwarts to be taken to a safe house but is attacked on the way. He manages to reach the safe house but is followed there and has to disappear quickly. Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) go with him and together they begin a quest to destroy Voldemort’s power forever.

 

 

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

The supernatural; death of loved ones; cruelty; taking on a dangerous quest

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 contains sometimes intense action violence throughout and the depiction of some blood and gore. Examples include:

  • Charity Burbage floats helplessly above a dinner table, appearing as though paralysed. She begs Snape) to help her. Voldemort point his wand at her, a green light erupts out of the end of the wand hitting the floating woman and she falls down on to the table dead, her eyes open and her face splattered with droplets of blood. A giant snake slithers towards her and seems to be about to eat her.
  • In a giant aerial battle between Death Eaters and wizards who were protecting Harry, we see each group firing their wands and wizards and witches knocked off their flying broomsticks. During the battle a number of giant power towers explode and crash to the ground. While being pursued by Voldemort, Harry grabs at his chest, screwing up his face as if in pain as if having a heart attack; we also see a number of small bloody cuts on Harry’s face. 
  • George Weasley is seen unconscious after being attacked by Death Eaters with a bloody wound on the side of his head where his ear has been badly injured.
  • When a group of Death Eaters attack a wedding party we see a Death Eater as a dark shadow engulfing a wizard as if eating him whole, and Death Eaters firing bolts of energy from their wands with people, tables, chairs and debris blasted in all directions.
  • Harry, Ron and Hermione engage in a wand fight with two Death Eaters. Bolts of energy are blasted in all directions with a blast from Hermione’s wand knocking one of the Death Eaters off of his feet; at the end of the fight the two Death Eaters are left lying unconscious on the floor and we see a number of small bloody cuts covering Ron and Hermione’s faces.
  • Dream images show Voldemort grabbing a man’s throat while threatening him.
  • Harry, Ron and Hermione are chased by several Dementors (shadowy ghost-like creatures) with the Dementors reaching through the bars of an elevator cage in and attempt to get at Harry. We see the Dementors trying to suck out Harry, Ron and Hermione’s souls from their mouths with swirling vapours leaving their mouths and being sucked into the Dementors’ mouths.
  • After being injured in an accident Ron lies on the ground with severe bloody lacerations to his upper arm; we can see muscle and tissue lying cut open. Hermione pours a magical potion on to the wound which heals instantly; we see blood covering Hermione’s hands and arms.
  • In one scene Harry is attacked by a giant snake. Hermione attacks the snake with her wand, firing blasts of energy at the snake. The aftershock explodes windows in the house.
  • While swimming beneath an ice covered pond Harry is attacked by a Horcrux locket he is wearing around his neck which tries to strangle him. Harry frantically kicks at the ice in an attempt to break through, then sinks to the bottom of the pond but is pulled to safety by Ron.
  • A story is told using animated shadow puppets. It features images of one puppet cutting the throat of another puppet with a large knife with shadow-like blood splashing onto the wall, and images of a second shadow puppet committing suicide by hanging himself.
  • Bellatrix strikes out at two men with a whip, the whip wrapping around the throats of the two men and almost strangling them.
  • Bellatrix tortures Hermione, either biting or cutting her hand, the act being partially obscured by Bellatrix’s head. We hear Hermione crying and screaming out in pain with the screaming continuing on for some time. Later we se see the image of the words mud blood cut into Hermione’s wrist.
  • Bellatrix holds a knife to Hermione’s throat, threatening to kill her if Harry and the others do not surrender.
  • Bellatrix throws a knife at Dobby and we see him clutching at his blood covered stomach before he collapses and dies in Harry’s arms.        

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are many scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • While a group of Death Eaters sit around a dinner table at Malfoy Manor we hear the sounds of screams in the background.
  • In a number of scenes, Death Eaters appear as menacing, black, smoke-like shadows that swirl their way across the sky at great speed and materialising into people.
  • Several scenes contain images of a giant snake that has a very threatening appearance.
  • Voldemort is a very scary character with pale skin, a bald head and a face that has snake like qualities.
  • Younger children may be scared or disturbed by the sinister appearance of the elf Kreacher.
  • When Harry and the others travel by magic their faces and bodies distort, becoming elongated and warped.
  • The Dementors have a threatening ghost-like appearance, dressed in long swirling, torn black robes and with long skeletal fingers. 
  • An old woman transforms into a giant snake.
  • When Harry opens a Horcrux locket a gigantic swirling, black mass erupts from the locket. Hundreds of large black spiders come out of the locket and crawling towards Ron.
  • Several scenes feature old witches and men with ugly disfigured or sinister looking faces.
  • We see an image of Dumbledore’s dead body lying in a tomb.
  • Harry’s owl Hedwig is killed.
  • Harry talks about the death of his parents and goes to look at their grave.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group are also very likely to be disturbed by many scenes in this film

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

The violent and disturbing scenes described above may also frighten children in this age group

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Younger children in this age group may also be disturbed by above-mentioned scenes.

Product placement

None of concern in the movie, although associated merchandise is being marketed to children

Sexual references

In one scene, Voldemort tells how one of the teachers at Hogwarts would have “us” (magical people) “mating with muggles “(non-magical people).

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Ginny walks into a room wearing a dress unzipped at the back and asks Harry if he can zip her up. The pair face each other hold each other and then kiss passionately.  
  • A woman kisses Ron on the lips when she mistakes him for her husband.
  • Hermione’s captor strokes the side of her face in a suggestive manner. 
  • A projected image of Harry and Hermione shows them standing naked with their arms wrapped around each other and kissing passionately. The images are meant to both arouse and taunt Ron.  

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • People drinking champagne at a wedding celebration.

Coarse language

The film contains a scattering of mild coarse language and name calling. Examples include:

  • Get the hell; O’ my god; tastes like goblin’s piss; losers; foul little git; ministry hag; bleeding; mental; bloody; arse.  

In a nutshell

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is a fantasy action film. It is darker, and contains more intense action violence and drama than previous Harry Potter films, and seems to be made for an older adolescent and adult audience. At 146 minutes it is also very long. It is definitely not suitable for children and younger teens.

The main message from this movie is that fighting evil and standing up for your principles can come at the cost of great personal sacrifice and suffering. 

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • friendship, loyalty and support
  • perseverance and bravery in pursuit of a quest

Parents may also wish to discuss parallels between Voldemort and real people from history, and how power in the wrong hands becomes evil, resulting in harm to innocent people.

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