Wednesday, July 18th, 2007 at 9:10 am in Movies.
Hogwarts has taken over the multiplex and your kindergartner is begging to see it — but the latest chapter in the Harry Potter franchise has a PG-13 rating and people keep referring to it as “dark.” So, what’s a parent to do? Read psychologist Richard Freed’s take on violent films and movie industry-generated ratings in the Times, then let your mouse provide some guidance. In addition to helpful reviews by Times critic Mary Pols and readers, we really like reading the family-friendly movie critics on sites such as Yahoo’s Movie Mom, for example, which gave “Order of the Phoenix” a B-plus. Keep this one for the 12-and-up crowd, she says, “Parents should know that the Potter stories become increasingly violent and that this story for the first time includes the death of a major and much-loved character…
… Characters are in frequent peril, including torture, and there is also some emotional abuse. There are some graphic and disturbing images.”
Also enormously helpful: Common Sense Media and Kids In Mind. The latter in particular offers incredible detail about the scenes – believe us, there are many — that may concern parents. Bottom line, if you and your middle schoolers or teens have read all the books and seen all the movies, wild trolls couldn’t keep you away. But if this is your family’s first foray into the world of Hogwarts, do not start with this one, no matter what your child’s age. Go back and rent movie #1, or better yet, read the books.
— Jackie Burrell