Sunday, February 5, 2012

An Open Letter to Daniel Radcliffe

Dear Mr. Radcliffe,

I write to you as a fan of the Harry Potter series. You may remember this series as the books those movies you starred in were based on. I truly enjoyed your performance as Harry Potter, and appreciate that you now wish to branch out. I've heard great things about your performance in "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" and sincerely regret not having been able to see you in the role. Furthermore, I found it encouraging that you branched out and appeared on SNL.

This brings me to your most recent role, as Arthur Kipps in "The Woman in Black". I realize that on the surface, this movie must have seemed wildly different from your previous movies. Those were adventure, this is horror. Those movies were intended for families, this one was decidedly not. However, having seen your new movie last night, I regret to say it seems that you have not branched out very much at all.

I don't think this is your fault, as I mentioned the movies and roles seemed very different. However, I would like to take this moment to examine the similarities. Harry spends his nights gallivanting around a castle, and Arthur spends the night in an abandoned mansion. When Harry is told, not to do something, he immediately decides that this is the best course off action, examples include being told not to go after Sirius Black and being told not to pay attention to his insights into Voldemort's mind. Similarly, everyone in the town Arthur visits tells him to leave. Instead he becomes more determined to stay. Both Harry and Arthur view locked doors as challenges, particularly when there are strange noises on the other side, and both will go towards strange noises, rather than avoiding them, as when Harry heard the Basilisk in the pipes, and when Arthur heard the strange rocking sound. Both act foolishly, but with noble intentions, ultimately for nothing. Harry goes to the Ministry to try and save Sirius, and Arthur runs into a burning building to rescue a child.

Both Arthur and Harry are haunted by dead relatives, wife and parents respectively, and both think of death as a train station where they can be reunited with loved ones.

Other similarities abound. The opening to "Half Blood Prince" and "The Woman in Black" are similar. The character of Trelawney exists in the guise of Mrs. Daily. Mr. Daily, the man who provides reluctant assistance also played a similar role in Harry Potter, as Aberforth Dumbledore. I'll be frank here, and say I'm a little disappointed you didn't get out when you realized that this is basically a movie about fighting a dementor.

At this point I would like to simply say, that I do think you did a fine performance. However, I urge you to break out and make your next film something different. Perhaps a nice lighthearted romantic comedy. Or anything other than a horror film really. Please, don't make another horror film. I'm easily startled, so the hour and a half I spent in the theater was unpleasant, though, to be clear, I am very glad that I went. I respect the it was an excellent movie, but I would like to point out this this is part of the problem. It was an excellent horror movie. It was scary. Even as I muttered "Expecto Partronum" the whole time.

Please continue to be an excellent actor, but please, try to branch out to playing different roles.

Kara Greenberg

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