Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Run Time: 152 minutes
Directed by: Chris Columbus
In addition to positive messages regarding friendship and teamwork, this film engages with multiple cultural identities by having strong male and female characters and positive depictions of various body types.
When Harry learns he is a wizard he attends his first year at Hogwarts and discovers secrets from his past.
- Demeaning language- “great prune,” “freak,” “crackpot old fool,” “fat ass,” “fat lump,” “idiot,” “dolt,” “bloody hell,” “stupid”
- Visible weapons and weapon use- gun, sword, club, crossbow
- Shoving, grabbing, kicking, strangulation
- Uncle Vernon threatens Harry with no food for a week
- Neville breaks his wrist after falling off of a broom
- Wand fighting, spells, Lily Potter dies as a result
- A ghost has a partially severed head
- Some gore- Harry has multiple scratches, seared flesh
- Filch says he misses the sound of screaming people hanging by their thumbs
- Sport (Quidditch) violence
Sex: 0 poo(s)
- People appear to be drinking alcohol in a pub
- Seamus tries to turn his water into rum
- Hermione challenges traditional gender roles regarding femininity as she is very active and intelligent. For example, Hermione fixes Harry’s glasses and saves Harry and Ron multiple times using her intelligence (uses spells to open locked doors and prevent Harry from falling off of his broom). Additionally, Hermione plays a crucial role in solving the mystery of Voldemort and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
- There are multiple female professors at Hogwarts. For example, Professor McGonagall is a strong and respected female character and holds a high position at Hogwarts. Also, Madame Hooch teaches broom riding (active) and maintains an authoritative presence throughout the film.
- Harry is the main hero in the film and does not conform to traditional gender roles regarding masculinity. For example, he is not one of the “cool kids,” he has glasses and messy hair, and he receives a lot of help from friends.
- Hagrid challenges traditional gender roles regarding masculinity as he is caring and shows his emotions by crying (in contrast to male stoicism that is a requirement of traditional masculinity).
- A few minor female characters are depicted as active as they are players on Quidditch teams.
- A few minor characters are of color, one of which is a Hogwarts professor.
Sexual Orientation– N/A
- Hagrid is half-giant and thus very tall and large-bodied. Hagrid is depicted as kind, caring, and helpful. This is important as the media often depicts people with large bodies as unintelligent and/or evil.
- Harry Potter, the lead character in the film, has a lightning bolt-shaped scar on his forehead. Rather than constructing the scar as something that needs to be hidden or something that is ugly, Harry’s scar represents his parents’ love and Voldemort’s failure to kill Harry as a baby. Additionally, the scar is depicted as “cool” by other characters.
- Professor Flitwick is a little person and is depicted in a positive manner as he is smart, caring, and a respectable professor at Hogwarts.
- Neville is referred to as “fat” a few times throughout the film (he is called a “fat ass” and a “fat lump”). However, the character that makes fun of Neville for his body is depicted as a bully and is an overall unlikeable character.
- At one point in the film, Hermione tries to fight off a troll but ends up needing to be saved by Harry and Ron (damsel in distress trope).
- There are no major characters of color.
- There are no variations of sexual orientation.
- Professor Quirrel has a stutter and is depicted as weak and nervous. This is problematic because it conforms to stereotypes surrounding people who stutter. Also, Professor Quirrel is depicted as evil, which conforms to the dominant narratives surrounding disability as people with disabilities are often depicted as immoral.
- Uncle Vernon, and Dudley are fat-bodied and are depicted as mean, gluttonous, and selfish. This adheres to the stereotypes surrounding fat bodies as the media often depicts people with fat bodies as lazy and/or mean.
- Filch is grotesque (stringy and greasy hair, bad teeth) and is depicted as mean and foolish. This is problematic because it assumes a person’s looks dictate their moral character.
Suggested talking points
- One of film’s themes is that loyalty, friendship, and good nature win out in the end.
- “Old” is used as an insult towards Professor McGonagall. Aging, especially for women, is stigmatized in contemporary media. Although natural, aging is viewed as something to be ashamed of in society (it is depicted as “unnatural” and ugly).
- A few class stereotypes are present in the film. For example, Ron has lower-class signifiers as he has dirt on his face, owns a pet rat, and talks with his mouth full.
- At the end of the film Dumbledore says, “It takes a great deal to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends.” What do you think he means by this?
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