Last fall, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them offered Harry Potter fans a new glimpse into the Wizarding World of J.K. Rowling. To no one’s shock, the film was very entertaining and another box office hit for the franchise. However, it was also a surprisingly deep examination on oppression through the lens of almost every major character in the movie.
In a recent installment of Justin Zagri and Liana Minassian’s The Big Picture, the overarching theme of Fantastic Beasts was explored in great detail. And while even the main character, Newt Scamander, suffers from oppression as well, Zagri focused on the more relatable problems of Jacob Kowalski, a refreshingly normal person who was exposed to the realities of magic through his growing friendship with Newt. From the very beginning of the film, we see that Jacob is an immensely talented cook who is beaten down and crushed by the economic realities of his job and the time period in which he was born.
Perhaps the greatest example of oppression in the movie is the tragic story of Credence Barebone, an immensely powerful young man whose life is filled with cruelty under the guise of kindness. As recounted in the spoiler-filled video, Credence was forced to retreat so deeply into himself that when he finally erupted, he became a danger to everyone around him. The video also offers sympathetic takes on Tina and Queenie Goldstein, both of whom find their magical talents largely wasted because of the prevailing social attitudes towards women and wizardry.
Even the beasts themselves are under the unintentional oppression of Newt himself. While Newt is far from abusive, he is also the captor of several creatures that only want to be free to follow their own nature. And who is Newt to deny them that chance? Do his efforts to protect and nurture these creatures override the inherent cruelty of captivity?
This video really is a fascinating and thorough look at the unifying themes of Fantastic Beasts. To find more episodes of The Big Picture, visit the Broad Strokes YouTube channel.
Do you agree with the video’s comparison of Fantastic Beasts and Braveheart? Embrace freedom in the comment section below!
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures