Saturday, November 24, 2018

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Adoption Movie Review (Spoilers)

A powerful dark wizard, Gellert Grindelwald, intends to create a new world order which will see wizards rule over non-wizards. Grindelwald gains followers through his persuasive speeches, but he believes that for his plan to succeed, the great wizard Albus Dumbledore must be eliminated. Grindlewald cannot fight Dumbledore, but he believes that he knows a wizard who can. The forces of evil and the forces of good both pursue a disturbed teenage orphan, believing that his pre-adoption history is key to their victory.


The Adoption Connection
Credence Barebone was violently abused by his adoptive mother, and now is free from her control. He has a magical parasite which can cause great destruction, and because of this he is feared by many, and desired by power-hungry wizards who hope to exploit him. Credence has a strong desire to know who he is. An evil mind reader advises Grindlewald to speak gently to Credence, and Grindlewald exploits his knowledge that Credence is desperate for a sense of family. It’s explained that Credence was abused by the woman who raised him, and now seeks the woman who bore him.
Credence travels to find his birth mother; he does find the woman whose name is on his adoption papers, but she affirms that she is only a servant of Credence’s parents. She embraces him; however, shortly after Credence meets her, she is murdered by one of Grindlewald’s followers.
Credence aches to know his history. Facing death, he asks someone, “Tell me my story before you end it.”

Strong Points

Newt Scamander is affirmed, “You do not seek power or popularity; you ask if a thing is right, and do it no matter the cost.”  

One character affirms that Credence’s identity is more than just his history – his history is not the only thing that defines who he is.


An infant is murdered off-screen.

One character confesses that, when she was a young girl during a ship voyage, she became frustrated by her infant brother’s constant screaming. Hoping for a brief break, she switched her brother with another infant, intending to reverse the switch in a little while. However, while the babies were switched, the ship sunk, and the girl’s mother rescued the baby she incorrectly believed to be her own. Years later, this character blames herself for her infant brother’s death; this also complicates Credence’s questions regarding his own identity – Credence was the baby who was taken in the switch, and the girl who took him knows nothing about his previous identity.

The film has a very dark tone with several frightening scenes.

Characters refer to Credence’s pre-adoption identity as “who he really is.” One character corrects this, telling Credence that there is a difference between “who he was born” and “who he is.”

A character has sworn a vow to avenge his father by killing the child of the man who seduced his mother away from his father.

A young woman is told – and believes – that her father never loved her.


Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is entertaining, but it also seems darker than most of the other films in the Harry Potter world. Adoption is profoundly woven into the story, but in a way that seems likely to be troubling, confusing, or upsetting for most young viewers touched by adoption. 
This one seems best left to adults and older teens who are mature enough to process the film’s adoption elements without embracing them as fact.

Questions for Discussion

What do you believe determines Credence’s identity?

Grindelwald says that Credence is desperate for family, and this leaves him vulnerable to 
Grindelwald; what would help Credence stay safe?

Which characters seem like the safest people that Credence could trust?

Other Ideas

No comments:

Post a Comment

Open Adoption Blogs