Five Sentence Critic: THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART 2

The unfortunately named Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 flies by far faster than its title slips off the tongue, and yet, despite being the shortest film in the series, it manages to sneak a fair share of poignant moments into what is largely an action movie. From Snape’s embrace of Lily’s body to the kiss that Ron and Hermione share inside the Chamber of Secrets, from the grim image of Tonks and Lupin’s bodies laid next to each other in the Great Hall to the moment Harry is visited by the ghosts of his parents and guardians, every fantastic spell cast is grounded in hard reality.

A number of the best moments in this film are the result of deviations from the text, however, and that may upset purists. But changes such as the ultimate fate of Voldemort’s very mortal body — it falls to the ground with a definitive thud in the book, but disintegrates in the movie — are always made in the interest of creating a narrative that works by embracing the rules of its genre; we don’t need to see the body, which might rise up like a horror movie cliché without minutes spent confirming he’s dead, and are instead satisfied with the image of there being nothing left to this soulless villain but dust.

Like Dumbledore fading to white in the King’s Cross of Harry’s mind — a far more visually satisfying exit for the character than his final appearance as a moving painting in the book — the Harry Potter films are gone now, left for us to ponder for as long as we like, for as long as we keep the faith that, as Dumbledore suggests, just because they’re taking place in our heads, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t real.