Is Harry Potter a lush?

New movie promotes teen drinking, critics say

In the latest Harry Potter film, Neville serves drinks, Hermione gets tipsy and Hagrid passes out after one too many. It’s got critics saying the movie promotes alcohol to teens. Studies suggest that teens are influenced by drinking in films: a 2007 study of about 5,600 German teens found that, even accounting for variables like friends’ drinking habits, those with high exposure to alcohol in American movies were almost three times more likely to binge drink. “In scene after scene, the young wizards and their adult professors are seen sipping, gulping and pouring various forms of alcohol to calm their nerves, fortify their courage or comfort their sorrows,” Tara Parker-Pope writes on her New York Times blog. In one scene, for example. Hermione gets a frothy moustache after drinking butterbeer, then throws her arms around her male companions. “Hermione is such a tightly wound young lady, but she’s liberated by some butterbeer,” mother Liz Perle, the editor in chief of Common Sense Media, told Parker-Pope. “The message is that it gives you liquid courage to put your arms around the guy you really like but are afraid to.” Warner Bros., which released the movie, said the scenes are open to “different interpretations,” and said the Harry Potter universe “should not be held to the same standards as the real world.”

The New York Times