Metascore
65

Generally favorable reviews - based on 42 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 42
  2. Negative: 3 out of 42
  1. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Dec 8, 2010
    70
    It's not a bad movie, but it is very much a transitional one.
  2. Reviewed by: Kimberley Jones
    Dec 8, 2010
    89
    This is a quest movie, with a lot of ground covered, and just as our heroes never stay long in one place or feel safe in their surroundings, neither does the audience.
  3. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    Dec 8, 2010
    75
    For a studio so clearly willing to take risks with so many of its movies, this particular movie has a whiff of exploitation. Rowling wrote one epic funeral that Warner Bros. requires us to attend twice.
  4. Reviewed by: Pam Grady
    Dec 8, 2010
    90
    The film might have ended at its action-packed and ultimately moving climax, but screenwriter Steve Kloves goes one step farther. He finds the perfect cliffhanger, one that emphasizes just how dangerous young Mr. Potter's situation really is and definitely leaves the audience anxious for the next chapter.
  5. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Dec 8, 2010
    63
    It's grim, funny in one sequence about shapeshifters, vivid in moments of violent action, nearly devoid of plot twists and marked by long patches where Harry, Ron and Hermione camp in the woods or by the sea or near a frozen lake and ponder What It All Means.
  6. Reviewed by: Andrea Gronvall
    Dec 8, 2010
    70
    The best portion is an animated story-within-the-story, supervised by Ben Hibon, that recalls Lotte Reiniger's filigreed shadow puppets as it sets the stage for armageddon.
  7. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Dec 8, 2010
    75
    A handsome and sometimes harrowing film, and will be completely unintelligible for anyone coming to the series for the first time.
  8. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Dec 8, 2010
    75
    With that kind of financial imperative it's something of a miracle the Potter films have been, on the whole, good. One or two, very good. One or two (the first two), less good. This one's good.
  9. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Dec 8, 2010
    83
    Part 1 of the final installment, 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,' is another scrupulous adaptation of J.K Rowling's books.
  10. Reviewed by: Nick de Semlyen
    Dec 8, 2010
    60
    The first and third acts are over-busy; the middle one moves like an arthritic house-elf. Still, a decent smattering of magic moments and tension's pumped up sky-high. Bring on Part 2.
  11. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Dec 8, 2010
    91
    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 also bravely faces the future, slipping with expert ease among the thrilling mass of complications (and complicated set pieces) that Rowling throws fans in the final sprint, then guiding the faithful to the fate that awaits everyone in this world, the moment called The End.
  12. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Dec 8, 2010
    50
    To be fair to Deathly Hallows, the filmmakers have tried hard to fill the proceedings with battles and chases and debilitating curses. Genuine filmmaking excitement, however, is harder to provide.
  13. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Dec 8, 2010
    63
    A lot of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One feels like slushy set-up for the climactic all-out battle due in theaters next summer. The movie doesn't even give us the expected cliffhanger ending, although I'd be lying if I said I'm not eager to see how everything turns out.
  14. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Dec 8, 2010
    80
    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is probably about as good a movie as you can make from just half of a rather complicated book. But then, it's not just a movie but a promise: When Part 2 arrives, next summer, a cloud of desolation is likely to descend upon us.
  15. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Dec 8, 2010
    88
    Boasting a rich look and an engrossing storyline, it's the rare "to-be-continued" film that doesn't leave its audience feeling cheated.
  16. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Dec 8, 2010
    80
    Don't you expect any hand-holding, either. Director David Yates throws us straight into Harry's waking nightmare, as he searches for a way to defeat Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) while keeping himself and his friends alive.
  17. 50
    I hope that in Part 2, Yates and screenwriter Steve Kloves give Fiennes a better send-off than Dame J.K. did in her less-than-wizardly climactic wandathon. Having made us sit through two and a half hours with no payoff, they'd better not go all Muggle on us. Next time, we want magic, people.
  18. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Dec 8, 2010
    50
    Beautifully shot but a soulless cash machine, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 delivers no dramatic payoff, no resolution and not much fun. Hopefully we'll get that in the final installment next summer.
  19. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    Dec 8, 2010
    70
    Deathly Hallows I actually manages to be involving and kind of artful about the boredom and loneliness of heroism, while sounding a long throbbing drumroll for next summer's grand finale.
  20. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Dec 8, 2010
    88
    The first third is brisk and witty, the middle third gloomy and the finale of Part 1 not so much a cliffhanger as a grim, inspiring tease, a masterly build-up to put "I can't wait for part 2" on every Muggles' lips.
  21. Reviewed by: Carrie Rickey
    Dec 8, 2010
    75
    Among the leads, Radcliffe alternates between playing the wet blanket and the dry wit, and Grint strikes a few sparks as his ambivalent protector. It is Watson who catches fire as the strategist and soldier of this penultimate Potter quest. Watson's so good that one wishes Rowling had built her septology around Hermione Potter.
  22. Reviewed by: M. E. Russell
    Dec 8, 2010
    83
    The film continues the tone that "Half-Blood Prince" set: we're leaving childish things behind, and human and magical concerns are starting to mingle in a grown-up way. When "Part 2" hits theaters eight months from now, I suspect I'll appreciate the buildup to a (literally) explosive finale. It's going to be a long wait.
  23. Reviewed by: John DeVore
    Dec 8, 2010
    75
    Overall, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 is a harrowing and substantial set-up to what promises to be a climactic final chapter in one of the most popular and successful move franchises of all time.
  24. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Dec 8, 2010
    75
    Despite providing an opportunity to spend 147 minutes in the company of people we have grown to know and love over the years and advancing the narrative toward its final cataclysmic confrontation, The Deathly Hallows Part One underachieves. At a time when Harry Potter should be soaring to new heights, it remains curiously grounded.
  25. Reviewed by: David Yates
    Dec 8, 2010
    63
    Part I is more disappointment than disaster. It merely rolls along like something off an assembly line. Untouched by human hands.
  26. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Dec 8, 2010
    70
    The seventh and last volume in J.K. Rowling's series of best-selling fantasy novels has been split in half for Hollywood purposes, making this long, dour, impressive and handsome motion picture the penultimate chapter, largely designed to build up the heavy-duty suspense before the climax is delivered next year.
  27. Reviewed by: Amy Biancolli
    Dec 8, 2010
    25
    This one is a long, archetypal journey that screeches to a halt a few stops short of its destination.
  28. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Dec 8, 2010
    80
    This installment is all about the grown-up kids. The three young leads - especially Emma Watson, who can do more with a still face than any actress her age - are all terrific
  29. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Dec 8, 2010
    75
    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is slower and stranger than any of the previous films, simultaneously raising hopes for a haunting finale while dimming hopes for a magical one.
  30. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Dec 8, 2010
    67
    Part 1 of Harry Potter's long goodbye is technically impressive as usual, especially an animated shadow play explaining the whole Deathly Hallows myth.
  31. Reviewed by: Tasha Robinson
    Dec 8, 2010
    50
    Most of the content of this film is wheel-spinning or conscious setup for the final installment, and that feels apparent at every melodramatic moment.
  32. 50
    The tale is about meeting Death and comes with this moral: When The End arrives, better to embrace it with love than to try to cheat it with avarice. Hey, if nothing else, Part 1 has got some nerve, so greedily refusing to practice what it earnestly preaches.
  33. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Dec 8, 2010
    50
    More than even the most faithful of the earlier episodes, this film feels devoted above all to reproducing the novel onscreen as closely as possible, an impulse that drags it toward ponderousness at times and rather sorely tests the abilities of the young actors to hold the screen entirely on their own, without being propped up by the ever-fabulous array of character actors the series offers.
  34. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Dec 8, 2010
    70
    The movie, in other words, belongs solidly to Mr. Radcliffe, Mr. Grint and Ms. Watson, who have grown into nimble actors, capable of nuances of feeling that would do their elders proud.
  35. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Dec 8, 2010
    30
    The whole thing does seem preternaturally stained with Weltschmerz.
  36. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Dec 8, 2010
    40
    Stuff still leaps out of the screen -- the snake striking a victim, cars sent flying by Death Eaters -- but few things in the movie lodge in the audience's mind or heart.
  37. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Dec 8, 2010
    80
    The first part of Deathly Hallows has plenty of invigorating imagery alongside the pro forma narrative elements.
  38. Reviewed by: Scott Bowles
    Dec 8, 2010
    88
    Menacing and meditative, Hallows is arguably the best installment of the planned eight-film franchise, though audiences who haven't kept up with previous chapters will be hopelessly lost.
  39. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Dec 8, 2010
    70
    Director David Yates spins the series' most expansive, structurally free-form chapter yet -- lumbering and gripping by turns, and suffused with a profound sense of solitude and loss.
  40. Reviewed by: Dan Kois
    Dec 8, 2010
    70
    The best bits of Deathly Hallows are the moments that play with the tensions of late adolescence.
  41. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Dec 8, 2010
    30
    What's worse, some mysterious movie curse has turned the three once-lively adventurers into wood.
  42. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Dec 8, 2010
    75
    It's half of a really good movie, full of the enchantment, emotion and incident for which the Potter series has become so fanatically cherished.
User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 756 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 28 out of 239
  1. Nov 19, 2010
    10
    By far the best film of the franchise, and the darkest in tone. Long gone is the light, cheerful score of John Williams, being replaced byBy far the best film of the franchise, and the darkest in tone. Long gone is the light, cheerful score of John Williams, being replaced by Alexandre Desplat's haunting adult, haunting score. Basically all the characters and the spells has been layed out in the six previous movies and The Deathly Hallows straight away picks up where it left off in The Half-Blood Prince. To be honest, when I heard that the movie was going to be two and a half hours I was really worried that it'll drag on and on, but not suprisingly David Yates proved me wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it didn't feel like 147 minutes at all. It's definitely a stand-out than all the other Potter films as there's no Hogwarts in sight. The sense of security the trio had before inside the four walls of Hogwarts and under the watchful eye of Dumbledore has been torn down. Instead, they have to face "the real world". Being hunted down like fugitives and the feeling of anxiety that anyone can pop up anywhere, and if they're not alert, they're done for. It definitely takes it's toll on all of them. My favorite scene was one that wasn't in the book, after Ron stormed off, Harry and Hermione were dancing to Nick Cave's O' Children. All the gloominess was slightly and briefly lifted by a few of the lighter bits of the movie, but basically it's all doom and gloom. The cinematography was absolutely brilliant, the best looking movie of the franchise, Exceptional acting by all three of them, a stand-out performance by Emma Watson. Part 1 ended with the death of a friend and a minor cliffhanger. What a way to kick-off the long emotional inevitable goodbye and I trust David Yates to knock it out of the park on July 2011. Bring it on. Full Review »
  2. Nov 19, 2010
    10
    I am the first one who write the review, because at this time (GMT +7), a lot of people in my country INDONESIA (Bali & Java is in INDONESIA),I am the first one who write the review, because at this time (GMT +7), a lot of people in my country INDONESIA (Bali & Java is in INDONESIA), have already watched the International Release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I. This movie is fantastic, phenomenal and thank god, this movie not using (converted) 3D. I am a true fans, so my score (10) is reasonable enough. Recommended ! because this is the final chapter of Harry Potter and friends Saga, I will miss the characters and I 'm looking forward to see Part 2 next year. Full Review »
  3. Sep 23, 2011
    7
    Boasting with surprising maturity and good direction from director David Yates, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1" is a good startBoasting with surprising maturity and good direction from director David Yates, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1" is a good start to the ending of the Harry Potter franchise. Full Review »