Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 (2010) - Rotten Tomatoes

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 (2010)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: It can't help but feel like the prelude it is, but Deathly Hallows: Part I is a beautifully filmed, emotionally satisfying penultimate installment for the Harry Potter series.

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Movie Info

The first installment of the two-film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows follows Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson) as they search for the pieces of Voldemort's (Ralph Fiennes) soul that he extracted from his being and hid in obscure locations both far and wide. If the trio is unable to locate and destroy them all, Voldemort will remain immortal. Despite their long friendship, a combination of dark forces, romantic tensions, and long-held secrets threaten to sabotage the mission. David Yates directs. ~ Tracie Cooper, Rovi

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Cast

Daniel Radcliffe
as Harry Potter
Emma Watson
as Hermione Granger
Rupert Grint
as Ron Weasley
Helena Bonham Carter
as Bellatrix Lestrange
Ralph Fiennes
as Lord Voldemort
Michael Gambon
as Professor Albus Dumbledore
Alan Rickman
as Professor Severus Snape
Robbie Coltrane
as Rubeus Hagrid
Bonnie Wright
as Ginny Weasley
John Hurt
as Mr. Ollivander
Timothy Spall
as Wormtail
Tom Felton
as Draco Malfoy
Miranda Richardson
as Rita Skeeter
Imelda Staunton
as Dolores Umbridge
Bill Nighy
as Rufus Scrimgeour
Richard Griffiths
as Vernon Dursley
Harry Melling
as Dudley Dursley
Julie Walters
as Molly Weasley
Ian Kelly
as Herminone's Dad
Michelle Fairley
as Herminone's Mum
Fiona Shaw
as Petunia Dursley
Carolyn Pickles
as Charity Burbage
Helen McCrory
as Narcissa Malfoy
Jason Isaacs
as Lucius Malfoy
Guy Henry
as Pius Thicknesse
Rod Hunt
as Thorfinn Rowle
Suzie Toase
as Alecto Carrow
Ralph Ineson
as Amycus Carrow
David Ryall
as Elphias Doge
Brendan Gleeson
as Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody
Graham Duff
as Death Eater
Adrian Annis
as Death Eater
Emil Hostina
as Death Eater
Paul Khanna
as Death Eater
Richard Strange
as Death Eater
Peter G. Reed
as Death Eater
Granville Saxton
as Death Eater
Judith Sharp
as Death Eater
Ashley McGuire
as Death Eater
Penelope McGhie
as Death Eater
Tony Kirwood
as Death Eater
Simon Grover
as Death Eater
Jon Campling
as Death Eater
James Phelps
as Fred Weasley
Oliver Phelps
as George Weasley
Mark Williams
as Arthur Weasley
George Harris
as Kingsley Shacklebolt
Andy Linden
as Mundungus Fletcher
Domhnall Gleeson
as Bill Weasley
Clémence Poésy
as Fleur Delacour
Natalia Tena
as Nymphadora Tonks
David Thewlis
as Remus Lupin
Frances De La Tour
as Madame Maxime
Evanna Lynch
as Luna Lovegood
Rhys Ifans
as Xenophilius Lovegood
Matyelok Gibbs
as Auntie Muriel
Eva Alexander
as Waitress
Matthew Lewis
as Neville Longbottom
Devon Murray
as Seamus Finnigan
Freddie Stroma
as Cormac McLaggen
Jessie Cave
as Lavender Brown
Anna Shaffer
as Romilda Vane
Joshua Herdman
as Gregory Goyle
Amber Evans
as Twin Girl 1
Ruby Evans
as Twin Girl 2
Katie Leung
as Cho Chang
Scarlett Byrne
as Pansy Parkinson
Afshan Azad
as Padma Patil
David O'Hara
as Albert Runcorn
Steffan Rhodri
as Reg Cattermole
Nick Moran
as Scabior
Sophie Thompson
as Mafalda Hopkirk
Daniel Tuite
as Skinny Ministry Wizard
Daisy Haggard
as Ministry Lift Voice
George Potts
as Balding Wizard
Rose Keegan
as Red Haired Witch
Ned Dennehy
as Scared Man
Kate Fleetwood
as Mary Cattermole
Daniel Hill
as Bushy Haired Muttering Wizard
Rade Serbedzija
as Gregorovitch
Jamie Campbell Bower
as Young Grindelwald
Hazel Douglas
as Bathilda Bagshot
Adrian Rawlins
as James Potter
Michael Byrne
as Gellert Grindelwald
Dave Legeno
as Fenrir Greyback
Samuel Roukin
as Snatcher
Warwick Davis
as Griphook
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News & Interviews for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1

Critic Reviews for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1

All Critics (261) | Top Critics (47)

Maturing performances are a bonus, but the show's the thing, and by now it seems much richer than any theme park that could ever be made from it.

Full Review… | November 14, 2016
San Diego Reader
Top Critic

Part 1, like its predecessors, has been made with great care, craft and attention to detail. It is also darker and more foreboding.

Full Review… | November 20, 2013
Newsday
Top Critic

The trouble with Harry, as becomes clear from this seventh and penultimate installment, is not that we have lost the plot -- the film is as tangled and as corkscrewed as Bonham Carter's hair -- but that we are in danger of losing everything else.

Full Review… | November 22, 2010
New Yorker
Top Critic

There is much to love in the latest offering from the Potter franchise.

Full Review… | November 20, 2010
Film.com
Top Critic

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is slower and stranger than any of the previous films, simultaneously raising hopes for a haunting finale while dimming hopes for a magical one.

Full Review… | November 19, 2010
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic

By any measure, Deathly Hallows is a ripping thriller.

Full Review… | November 19, 2010
Denver Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1

½

This first part of the last chapter is definitely the best of the series, more concerned about the drama than the action, with a perfect pace and an intelligent script that wisely focuses more on the emotional weariness of its characters, which unfortunately may not please everybody.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

½

It's very easy to hold a grudge against Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows purely on the grounds of the industrial precedent it created. The financial success of splitting the last and biggest of the books into two instalments led to the same tactic being employed with Twilight and The Hunger Games, regardless of whether their respective source materials actually merited such an approach. For fans and casual viewers alike, the move smacked of wanting to milk as much as possible out of the last drops of a given franchise. In the case of HP7a (as Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo christened it), we find the franchise finally starting to cut to the chase, beginning the build-up towards the final confrontation between Harry and Voldemort. Having drawn things out for so long, putting off this inevitable showdown, there is almost a rush to get in everything that is left to be said. Under these circumstances, splitting the book into two films is almost the most logical thing to do, and while not all of it works, it does have a lot of attractive qualities. The feeling that a lot is being crammed into this final act brings us back to our ongoing comparison with The Lord of the Rings. Many film fans had quibbles with the ending(s) of The Return of the King, and fans of the book were in two minds about some of the omissions, particularly the scourging of the Shire and the death of Saruman (in the theatrical cut). But even taking those as gospel truth - for the moment - Peter Jackson did quite an excellent job of balancing and converging all the different aspects of Middle Earth in the climatic battles - a much better job, in fact, than he managed recently on the third and final Hobbit film. By contrast, Deathly Hallows - Part 1 has a lot of plot for us to swallow, making it simultanously one of the most satisfying and one of the most impenetrable instalments in the series. If you spent the previous two films crying out for a plot which directly focussed on the return of Voldemort and what his victory could mean for the wider world, you will find yourself openly rejoicing at the fact that this is finally being addressed. Equally, the series is so far gone and insular by this point, that if you happen to find yourself watching this by accident on late-night TV, chances are that you won't have the faintest idea what is going on. The film is helped somewhat in this regard by the horcruxes, a plot device which I covered in detail in my previous Harry Potter review. All of my criticisms of this McGuffin aside, the hunt for the horcruxes gives the film structure and a definite end-point towards which we are heading. Like The Two Towers, Deathly Hallows - Part 1 ends before said end-point has been reached, but like Jackson's film there is (to some extent) a feeling of catharsis and expectation of what is to come. That being said, the death of Dobby, like Dumbledore's in the previous film, still feels like an arbitrary event, included purely because it happened in the book. For all his dramatic credentials, David Yates still hasn't grasped how to build up tension so that a death can carry meaning: it's not so much a 'shock death' as a nothing-death. By focussing on the search for the horcruxes, and taking the action away from Hogwarts, Deathly Hallows - Part 1 moves the series into more candidly existential territory. Our three main characters are at their most isolated and strained since Goblet of Fire, faced with a quest which is seemingly impossible, and having to cope without either the wisdom or protection of their teachers. Kermode's comparisons with Ingmar Bergman may seem far-fetched at first glance, but there is a point behind them: there are fewer creature comforts here than in previous efforts, and like Bergman's films there is little credence given to sentimentality. The aesthetic of Deathly Hallows - Part 1 reflects this desire for all the stability and comfort in Harry's world to be diminished. Eduardo Serra, who won a BAFTA for his work on Wings of a Dove, shoots the action in a more pathos-ridden manner, emphasising the stillness of the woods, the intimidating dark colours and the increasingly pallid landscapes. Yates employs more hand-held work for the chase sequences through the woods, but is also judicious in his choice of wide shots to reinforce the smallness of the characters. There are times in Alexandre Desplat's soundtrack when the world around the characters seems to creak and wail, akin to Alan Splet's extraordinary work on David Lynch's Eraserhead. Two sequences in the film reinforce the feeling of gathering gloom and descending darkness better than any other. The first is the animated rendering of the Tale of the Three Brothers, whose stick-like characterisations are somewhere between Classical depictions of soldiers and the caricatures of Gerald Scarfe. The animation on its own is beautifully designed and well-told, but the sequence gives the eponymous hallows more status than they would have had if introduced through just another swathe of exposition. The tale has a Chaucerian quality to it, with Death's characterisation being as subtle and cunning as his namesake in 'The Pardoner's Tale' within The Canterbury Tales. The second, equally potent sequence is the trio's infiltration of the Ministry of Magic. I mentioned in my review of Order of the Phoenix about the Ministry's design being rooted in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. What was then a mere inflection is now made flesh, with Yates borrowing heavily yet grippingly from the Michael Radford adaptation, starring John Hurt and Richard Burton. The low-angle shots of the banners and wanted posters, not to mention the robotic movements of the Ministry's employees, reinforce the feeling of freedom and justice being crushed in the name of purity and homogeny. Imelda Staunton's return as Dolores Umbridge only hammers this home, taking her inevitable place as the puppet of a state governed by fear, and projecting her own self-loathing onto those she deems inferior. In the end, however, the centrepiece of Deathly Hallows - Part 1 is the relationship between our central trio, something which is anchored us throughout the ups and downs of the entire series. Like Goblet of Fire, seeing the central three at each others' throats is completely believable, but now that the stakes are raised their every tiff or raised voice could spell disaster. Rupert Grint does especially well in conveying the frustration of his character, whether it's listening to the radio to see whether his family has been killed, or his reaction to the nightmarish visions which burst forth from the locket. The only problem with the approach that Yates adopts is that the character-driven scenes begin to feel repetitive very quickly. It's not quite the case that you could show these sequences in any order you please, but the fact that Ron comes back so relatively quickly negates a lot of the emotional impact of his departure. Equally, there's little to suggest that the order in which the horcruxes are destroyed is the only order in which they could have been tackled; in this film at least, there's no progression from one to the other in terms of their potency or difficulty. Another big problem with which the film is lumbered is the need to tie up a lot of the supporting storylines, often by simply killing people off. Rowling described the action of the final book as a war, and in war unpredictable deaths are to be expected. But that doesn't mean that characters and creatures to which we have dedicated several years of our lives can just be swept aside as collatoral damage. If you thought that Ginny and Harry's kiss in Half-Blood Prince came out of nowhere, a lot of Deathly Hallows - Part 1 will feel completely jarring and inert. Once again, Yates can't deliver the knock-out blow when it matters most, working so hard on a general tone that the particular moments carry no weight. It's not just the death of Dobby which falls into this category; the entire Battle of the Seven Potters is a classic example of this approach. The special effects needed to create seven Daniel Radcliffes are all well and good, but the battle's choreography is choppy and disorientating; it doesn't communicate the chaos of the battle, it just leaves you wondering why they bothered in the first place. The deaths of multiple characters are treated in a lackadaisical, matter-of-fact manner, whether we see them on screen (Hedwig) or are simply told about them (Mad-Eye Moody). To top it off, Voldemort's appearance in the scene is a complete waste of time: he doesn't come across as threatening, he does nothing of significance, and he's so easily defeated. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 is an intriguing, atmospheric and bleak offering which serves up a lot of good points in amongst its all-too-common drawbacks. It is perhaps the strongest of the Harry Potter films since Goblet of Fire, and unlike many of the films in the series it may well improve with repeat viewings. But while its visuals and main characters are impressive, it's ultimately hobbled or reined in by meaningless deaths and dull repetition. For fans, it's an impressive and ambitious sequel; for cynics, it's a reassurance that, very soon, this will all be over.

Daniel Mumby
Daniel Mumby

Super Reviewer

Part One is still really entertaining and very dark, but some of the magic seems lost without Hogwarts. Still, this movie sets up the final part excellently, with the tension at an all time high. This is a good movie, but the final part is what we really want to see.

Nikhil Nandu
Nikhil Nandu

Super Reviewer

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