Fans Looking Out for Fans: Movie Health Community Evaluates Potential Health Hazards in “Potter” Films
Portions of this article contain wording or phrases that may be triggering to some readers.
A movie at the theater, popcorn in your hands, maybe even a soda and some candy… it all makes the perfect evening. What makes going to the movies so fun for a lot of people is seeing all the action up close and on the big screen. But for viewers with invisible disabilities or photosensitivities and even those sensitive to certain forms of violence and gore, the movie-watching experience isn’t all popcorn and candy.
That’s where Movie Health Community comes into play. Founded by a fan blogger, Movie Health Community is a public-service blog on Facebook and Tumblr. The blog has evaluated over 700 movies for potential hazards to both physical and mental health. Movie Health Community keeps an eye out for hazards ranging from strobe lighting effects and PTSD triggers to vomit, blood, gore, sexual assault, body horror, and kidnapping.
The Harry Potter movies are just a handful of the films to have been reviewed. However, given that Movie Health Community’s “methods of evaluating films for health hazards have expanded” since then, new reviews with updated information about triggers and warnings were deemed appropriate. But Harry Potter is supposed to be a family-friendly movie experience, right? Yes, in a general sense, they are more or less fine for family viewing. None of the films ever got above a PG-13 rating, but those ratings don’t tend to include some of the darker themes shown throughout the films.
Let’s pick on one movie here for a second: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. It received a PG rating when it was released in 2009. The latest review from Movie Health Community gives the film a 4/10 for flashing lights and a 3/10 for motion sickness, with 10/10 denoting flashing lights around every corner. Under the trigger warning section of the review, it notes, “One incident of audible vomiting; convulsions and foaming at the mouth when a character is poisoned.” We think that particular warning comes from the scene in which Ron is unfortunately poisoned and nearly dies. But that doesn’t cover when Harry and Professor Dumbledore are in the cave attempting to retrieve Voldemort’s locket Horcrux and Dumbledore is begging for Harry to kill him, which was hard enough to watch as it is.
More warnings throughout Movie Health Community’s reviews note child abuse (*glares at the Dursleys*), acts of murder (looking at you now, Voldy), acts of terror from a supremacist group (such as one scene from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire after the Quidditch World Cup), animal cruelty and abuse (also in Goblet of Fire from Professor Moody), bodily harm (throughout several of the movies), and more. The list goes on.
Movies such as the Potter films with more mild forms of flashing or violence, while important to take note of, haven’t been the most problematic films to date. Back in 2018, when Incredibles 2 was released, movie viewers began to post warnings online for photosensitive viewers because of several scenes with continuous strobe effects. Movie Health Community rated the Disney Pixar film 10/10 for flashing lights and 8/10 for motion sickness. The writer of the blog even made a separate post to say that the movie was downright dangerous for epileptic and photosensitive viewers. A petition was started by Movie Health Community at the time of the release to get an epilepsy warning. Shortly after the release, the Walt Disney Company did in fact issue a seizure warning.
Movie Health Community strives to bring awareness to photosensitivity, epilepsy, mental health, and more. We’d like to extend a thank you to Movie Health Community for allowing MuggleNet early access to the latest reviews of the Harry Potter films, which you can read below in full.