AWFJ Women On Film – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Part 1 – Review by Susan Granger

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As this adventure begins, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) have fled from the protection of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry because Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) and his evil followers – including Severus Snape (Alan Rickman), Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonhan Carter), Lucius Malfoy (Jason Isaacs) and his son Draco (Tom Felton) – have taken control of England’s Ministry of Magic. In addition to eluding the Death Eaters and Snatchers, their grim mission is to find and destroy the remaining Horcruxes (objects that contain bits of Voldemort’s soul), while battling Dark Forces, like the huge snake Nagini. Their creepy search leads them to Harry’s birthplace, the bleak village of Godric’s Hollow, where they uncover surprising truths about their unexpected bequests from Headmaster Albus Dumbledore. Meanwhile, Harry’s faith is tested, as are the loyalties of Hermione and Ron, who are obviously attracted to one another. And there’s a budding romance between Harry and Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright).

Adapted by Steve Kloves, screenwriter for six of the seven Potter films, and directed by David Yates (“The Order of the Phoenix” and “The Half-Blood Prince”), it’s far more perilous, intense and realistic than previous installments in J.K. Rowling’s detailed, intricate saga. Harry, Hermione and Ron are like refugees, left to their own devices in an ominous, terrifying world where they learn more about the importance of wands, the Sword of Gryffindor and Dobby the Elf. Since they emerged as wide-eyed innocents in “The Sorcerer’s Stone” (2001), the world has watched Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint grow into smart and savvy teenagers. Except for Michael Apted’s reality series, “Seven-Up,” which documented the lives of 14 British children, this kind of cinematic chronology has never been done before…and it’s extremely gratifying.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Part 1” is an intriguing, action-packed 8, building to “Part 2” (set for July 15, 2011) which revolves around a massive battle and Harry’s final confrontation with the Dark Lord.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.