Evan Kraft’s review published on Letterboxd:
I’m seeing all 8 movies in the theater this weekend, and just watching this made me super excited for the week to come. I haven’t seen this movie in a few years, and some of the later ones it’s going on 6 or 7. I’ve been a huge fan of this series since fourth grade, and while I acknowledge the flaws now, I can’t help but still feel that joy I felt of watching this movie with my dad for the first time and just being in awe at my favorite books put to the screen. It’s one of the first experiences that made me fall in love with film.
I remember one time we had a Harry Potter marathon at my aunt’s house. It started in the early afternoon with about 40 people in the house all sort of doing other stuff while Sorcerer’s Stone was playing. We had the kitchen table set aside for making wands, getting ties for our respective houses we chose, and tons of butterbeer and other themed snacks for us to just have fun with.
As the night went on, slowly more and more people started to leave, and by the time the fifth on started it was just 4 of us making fun of Umbridge at 2am just to keep ourselves awake.
By the time we got to the last movie, everyone had dozed off for at least some time, making the last movie that much more emotional. The sun had come up, we took the last disc out and fumbled to put it back in the huge collection my aunt got, and we all crashed.
I kept harkening back to those moments while watching this. Putting hot glue on a stick and painting it brown and calling it a wand, which I still own and have with me. Drinking butterbeer and eating a pizza we found at 4am. All of these things I can’t wait to go back to.
These movies mean a lot to me, and I hadn’t realized that until viewing this in a theater. Sure, they do these sorts of screenings all the time. However, there’s something about seeing a movie you love in a room full of strangers who also love that movie, that almost made me tear up. When four of us altogether quoted “what an idiot” or “it’s LeviOOOsa, not LeviosAAA” I felt something that I hadn’t felt in a while.
There’s a sense of belonging in these movies. Seeing Harry’s evolution from being this shy little kid from Privet Drive who is constantly berated by his aunt and uncle to this kid who finds himself in this new world where anything is possible, where he meets friends that are like him.
Fuck you JK Rowling, but thank you Harry Potter.