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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Review

Movies.com Critics

4.5

Dave White Profile

Horny wizards pretend to care about Voldemort. Read full review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0
    78

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 60

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    For those who’ve lived with the series for more than a decade, this fateful pause may heighten the suspense. For a Muggle like me, the storm does gather slowly.

    Read Full Review

  • 80

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    David Yates, in his go at the helm, throws the emphasis on the gathering storm clouds even as Harry and his fellow wizardry students make further discoveries involving the opposite sex.

    Read Full Review

  • 88

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    One of the series's best, with spectacular effects, nuanced performances and witty dialogue.

    Read Full Review

  • 91

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    But the story is, still and all, only a pause, deferring an intensely anticipated conclusion. And it's in that exquisite place of action and waiting that this elegantly balanced production emerges as a model adaptation.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince reviews at Metacritic.com

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 12+

Terrific but intense mix of love, friendship, fear, sorrow.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is no PG movie -- in all ways, it's very similar to the previous two movies, which were rated PG-13. This film continues the series' trend toward darker, more intense material. For young children, the death of a major beloved character could be extremely upsetting. Other characters are bloodied, kicked, and cursed in frightening ways, and a very scary scene involving scary, skeletal characters is sure to scare the pants off of little kids. There are also some big emotional upheavals and scary attacks. And there's notably more sexuality -- albeit playfully depicted -- than in the past movies. Because the characters are now teens, much of the interaction between them and their friends centers on getting a boy or girlfriend, and there's plenty of snogging (making out). While Harry and his friends continue as strong positive role models, other characters' motives and plans become more ambiguous. And there are also a few scenes that include alcohol consumption -- including one in which a professor serves his students.

  • Families can talk about the best age for kids (and eager parents) to start getting into the Harry Potter series. Is it OK to read all the books (and see all the movies) at the same age?

  • What do you think of the way the movie depicts the teens' romantic relationships? Are they believable? Is the story too hormone-filled for younger viewers?

  • What do we learn about Voldemort's past in this movie? Does that change the way you feel about him?

  • If you've read the book, what parts of the novel were left out? Which were faithfully adapted? How does this movie compare to the earlier ones as an adaptation?

The good stuff
  • message true4

    Messages: Most of the messages are inspiring, since the protagonists are clearly "heroes" who accept help from others to overcome obstacles, learn the importance of being loyal to friends, and embody the idea that those who stand together for "good" can triumph over "evil," even at great cost.

  • rolemodels true4

    Role models: Professor Dumbledore is an excellent, selfless role model. Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny are flawed teenagers, but that helps make them some of the most relatable characters in children's literature -- as well as admirable, since they're also loyal, brave, self-sacrificing, generous, and empathetic. On the flip side are the Death Eaters and the unreliable, enigmatic character of Severus Snape. Tom Riddle (Voldemort as a boy) is cruel, calculating, and cold -- but it's clear that most characters recognize these troubling qualities. Draco Malfoy, who has been "promoted" to Death Eater, is still shown as conflicted and scared about the task Voldemort assigns him. Professor Slughorn means well, but his head is turned by fame and fortune. Still, in the end, he manages to be brave.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: As in the book, the sixth movie includes the death of a beloved major character. Voldemort himself isn't shown in this installment (young Tom Riddle appears instead). Aside from the one murder (via killing curse), there are several injuries and close calls: a curse severely bloodies a character, a character is bruised and beaten, two characters are accidentally poisoned, a main character is seen having a life-threatening seizure, and Death Eaters set a house on fire and destroy buildings and structures both in the magical realm and in the Muggle world (as well as kidnap a Diagon Alley denizen). Harry and Dumbledore must also fend off the very frightening, skeleton-like creatures during a dangerous mission.

  • sex false2

    Sex: Lots of flirting and "snogging" (kissing) among the Hogwarts students, both main characters and extras. Several discussions about attraction, romantic relationships, unrequited feelings, love potions, jealousy, and adolescent dating. Several kisses and instances of hand holding and longing gazes. Random couples are shown making out in the halls and at parties. Talk of getting together and/or breaking up threads through the whole movie.

  • language false1

    Language: Mild insults/British slang like "daft," "dimbo" (which means dumb bimbo), "idiot," "bloody," and the like. A couple of uses of phrases like "good God."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Harry and his underage pals (the legal drinking age in England is 18) drink butterbeer, mead, and what looks like wine at the Three Broomsticks pub and a couple of dinner parties (it's unclear to those not versed in the books whether butterbeer is actually alcoholic). In one scene, as a celebration, a professor offers alcohol to Ron and Harry; the same professor serves drinks to several teens at a holiday party. Harry also takes a "luck" potion that alters his behavior in a way that seems slightly high, and Ron is thrown for a loop by a powerful love potion. Professor Slughorn and Hagrid get pretty deep into their cups in one scene.

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