Welcome to “Friday Favorites” which highlight some of my favorite movie-related things.
In a further attempt to get over my inability to write about Harry Potter, I give you today’s Friday Favorite, from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Until the release of the two part Deathly Hallows films, Goblet of Fire was my favorite of the Harry Potter films. While many people preferred Prisoner of Azkaban, I liked this one the best. I thought it gave an emotional depth and realism to the characters that was a big step beyond anything we had seen in the previous three movies. Big credit for that goes to director Mike Newell and screenwriter Steve Kloves, but I also felt the cast had finally matured to the point where their performances could bring the characters to life in a new way. I particularly loved Emma Watson’s performance in the film, and she’s given so many chances to shine, but there’s one moment in particular that stands out to me. Take a look, and read on for my thoughts:
The moment with Harry and Hermione on opposite sides of the tent flap is my favorite creation of the Harry Potter movies. After Harry’s name is chosen for the Triwizard Tournament, Ron abandons him and Hermione becomes his only friend for a time. In the book, there is a great moment the morning after the champion selection, where Harry is dreading going down to the great hall for breakfast because of the treatment he is likely to receive by the other students. However, he’s hungry, and after debating it for a while he finally heads out of the portrait hole to go downstairs when he runs into Hermione, who has been to breakfast and brought him back a plate of food, knowing how he must be feeling. It’s a heartbreakingly pure moment of friendship that is one my favorite moments in the entire series, and for me this scene in the film is the emotional equivalent of that.
Have you ever had a friend who was facing something huge (perhaps a surgery, or the like) and you just didn’t know what to say? Go back and watch Hermione’s face as she struggles to find what to say. She’s trying to be supportive and encouraging to Harry, while simultaneously dealing with her own fear at losing her friend and concern at his emotional state. She communicates so much just through her facial cues, and is unable to get that out in a way that will be beneficial to Harry. It’s a fantastic bit of acting from Emma Watson. Of course, Harry understands what she must be going through, and doesn’t shoot her down over her inability to express herself.
But the instant when she can’t take it anymore and bursts into the tent to throw her arms around him is really what gets to me. I have a thing for spontaneous, uncontrollable physical expressions of emotion, as it’s something I can completely relate to. If I were in her shoes, about to watch my friend potentially go to his death, I would be absolutely aching for some physical contact. So few movies, in my eyes, manage to capture the physical expression of emotions. The way that she is panicked, as she struggles with the opening to the tent, is absolutely brilliant, whether scripted or just superb acting. I’m a touch oriented person, so that feeling that you have to grab ahold of something or someone before it’s too late is something I can completely relate too.
I’m sure there are people who watch this scene and interpret it as romantic, and while I’m not a Harry/Hermione shipper if I were I would definitely see this scene that way. However, friendship of the type Harry and Hermione have is one that fosters this sort of show of affection. It’s the way I would prefer all of my friendships to be, but not everyone is comfortable with that sort of thing. Regardless, there’s something in this moment that speaks to me and makes me love Harry and Hermione (and Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson) even more than I did before.
What do you think? Do you like this moment in the film? Does it remind you of other similar moments from the books? How great is Emma Watson in this scene? Which Harry Potter film is your favorite? Let me know in the comments!