'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2'
Director: David Yates
Rated: PG-13 for action and some language
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Helena Bonham Carter
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Common Sense Media rating: On for 12+
Moviefone Mama Says: After more than a decade of reading and watching along, the story of the Boy Who Lived is finally about to end, and it's an incredibly emotional experience. Those of you who are fellow Potterheads will need a box of tissues with you to get through the spectacular final installment of the most successful movie franchise of all time. Even if I weren't an admitted Harry Potter fangirl, I'd still consider the tale of Harry's last stand against Lord Voldemort the best blockbuster of the year. After Harry, Ron and Hermione return to Hogwarts, we're reunited with some of our favorite professors and schoolmates, all of whom remind us why this film series is such a magnificent epic.
Did You Know?: You may not recognize her at first, but the actress who plays Rowena Ravenclaw's daughter Helena is Scottish beauty Kelly Macdonald, whose own film debut was the very un-family-friendly 'Trainspotting.' For some further Potter trivia, check out our 'By the Numbers' feature.
Parent Concerns: If your children were alive when 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone' hit theaters in 2001, they're old enough to see the final film. But if they're still in single digits, it all depends on how close they are to being a tween and whether they can handle the emotional and violent sequences in the movie. This is the bloodiest entry of the series, and there are many deaths, including several characters we've grown to love over the years. Although it all "ends well," kids sensitive to on-screen deaths may need to wait to see if the Chosen One vanquishes the Dark Lord.
Here are three talking points to extend your movie-going experience:
1. The Prince's Tale
Severus Snape has an unbelievable character arc in this film, and we learn all about his true allegiances, his background and the reason he killed Dumbledore in 'Half-Blood Prince.' What does his backstory make you think about him? Does it excuse his cruel treatment of Harry and his friends? Is he redeemed or unredeemed and why? Ultimately, do you consider Snape a hater or a hero?
2. Rising to the Occasion
Some of Harry's best mates have always faced danger, simply by virtue of being his friends. But in 'Deathly Hallows, Part 2,' characters like Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis) and Molly Weasley (Julie Walters) become heroes in their own right. Smitten sidekicks Ron and Hermione, meanwhile, finally admit that they're in love right in the middle of battle by sharing a long-awaited "now or never" snog. How do extraordinary circumstances transform the supporting characters?
3. One for All, All for One
Harry Potter is one of literature's best examples of the hero archetype: He faces many daunting aspects of his epic mission alone, but along the way he needs a lot of help, primarily from Hermione, Ron, the Order of the Phoenix and his friends in Dumbledore's Army. What makes Harry a hero -- his destiny or his choices? What about his friends -- what sacrifices do they make to help Harry? Is Harry "perfect," or does he have character flaws? Compare Harry to other popular heroes like Frodo or Luke Skywalker.
Three to See: Epic Adventures
1. 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone'
Young kids who aren't ready for 'Deathly Hallows' can still enjoy the series' first film, which chronicles Harry's introduction to magic and his first year at Hogwarts.
2. 'The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe'
Kids will adore seeing the Pevensie siblings discover the magical land of Narnia, meet the wise and selfless Aslan, and help defeat the White Witch.
3. 'The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring'
Director Peter Jackson's adaptation of JRR Tolkien's fantasy epic is nearly universally adored by audiences and critics alike, and for good reason. Haven't met a teenager yet who didn't love this beautifully acted trilogy.
Photos courtesy of Warner Bros.