Magic Beyond Words: The J.K. Rowling Story (2011) – “Well Harry, it’s you and me”

actors: PoppyMontgomery, Emily Holmes, Paul McGillion, Christine Chatelain
director: Paul A. Kaufman
IMDb: 6.7/10
Edge and Back: 6.5/10

…I am home and it’s only square one, There’s nothing under my sun, And all the voices ignore, Living a life in the books on the floor, And what all my choices are for, It’s a room without anyone…”

”Magic Beyond Words…” is based on the book J.K. Rowling A Biography by Sean Smith and follows the journey of the author best known for writing the Harry Potter books, from childhood up until the world premiere of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”. It’s a Lifetime production, a rags-to-riches tale of a woman struggling with to find her path in life while creating one of the most loved characters of this decade.

Poppy Montgomery stars as J.K. Rowling, a sassy and touching portrayal of the authoress. The movie feels like it’s a string of tales about J.K. tied into a coherent story-line. It’s not a perfect movie, it reflects poor knowledge on the British educational system and on many details about J.K.’s life but it has the power that only a Lifetime production has. It keeps you glued to the screen and you begin to enjoy the tale.

Perhaps it’s the insertions of details pertaining to the Harry Potter universe – the platform 9 and 3/4 shown at some point; the moment when Jo had a glimpse of the story she would write, we see her struggles to cope with the difficulties of raising a child alone, the loss of her mother and her abusive husband.

Many HP fans can easily pin point the mistakes of this movies – and there are many – but what it failed to gain won in terms of feelings – it’s a Lifetime production after all. I first saw this movie last year. There are two moments I’ve cherished: the bitter homecoming of J.K. on the haunting ballad “Square One” and the question asked by a reporter during the movie premiere of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone: ‘what would you see if you’d looked in the Mirror of Erised?’

Someday, maybe, we’ll see a better movie on how this woman followed her dream with passion and won a bet against all odds. That’s the true story of J.K. Rowling, she might not be a James Joyce but she told a tale like no other and brought many of us in an universe in which we dreamed to go to Hogwarts. We wanted to be sorted in one of the four houses, we wanted to be part of the adventures, we came at midnight, bought the books and read them feverishly into the early hours of the morning; we saw the movies, we kept the memories. 10 years, 8 movies and 7 books.

This little Lifetime movie had the power to bring back the memory of a feeling tucked away and with it’s flaws we have to ask ourselves…if we could look in the Mirror of Erised, what would we see?

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2 thoughts on “Magic Beyond Words: The J.K. Rowling Story (2011) – “Well Harry, it’s you and me”

  1. Do you know the name of the artist or the song that you quoted at the beginning of your article? It plays 47min into the movie but is not on the the “Magic Beyond Words” soundtrack, nor is it listed anywhere I can find online as being part of the soundtrack. I was hoping that perhaps because you quoted the song so predominately and in such a large font in your article, you may be aware of its author, title, or who performed it.

    1. The name of the song is “Square One” and the artist performing the song is Miriam Jones. Sadly, the song hasn’t been released 🙁

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