While extremely similar to the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone shows us how film can truly illuminate some of the more social aspects of psychology. In particular, it shows up the depth of relationships in the series.
For instance, Harry’s relationship with the Dursley family. We already knew they treated him terribly, but the movie shows us the effect it has on Harry’s psyche. You can see in his facial expressions the wariness whenever anyone approaches him. In the scene where Hagrid appears at the hut to give Harry a birthday cake, we see Harry’s complete surprise that anyone remembers his birthday, let alone acts on it. Birthdays are supposed to be special. You’re supposed to get spoiled and treated like royalty. It’s heartbreaking to watch Harry’s face light up at the realization that someone actually genuinely cares about him.
Later in the film, Harry has trouble trying to get to Platform 9¾. Molly Weasley appears, trying to usher her own kids to the platform. As Harry watched them literally pass through a stone column, he finally finds the courage to approach her and ask if she could teach him how. He stutters and looks completely unsure of himself, though Molly Weasley is more than warm towards him. This just goes to show the effects of neglect on a child. The pure joy on his face when he finally escapes the Dursleys perfectly captures his desire to be free.
Another great example of social relationships is the friendship between Harry and Ron. Harry and Ron first meet on the train to Hogwarts when Ron asks if he can sit in Harry’s compartment with him. This scene is adorable because they immediately hit it off and you can see how happy Harry is that he finally has a friend. He is so excited by this that he spends a ton of money on candy because he can see that Ron wants some, but can’t afford it. This goes to show the loyal nature that Harry possesses and how quick he is to trust someone once they show him affection or kindness. It just goes to show that he is so unused to the idea of someone treating him well that he believes it right away since it’s so foreign to him.
Hermione, unlike Ron, is more unsure of herself in a social capacity. She comes off as rather snide because she is confident in her intellect, though she does later prove herself to be a kind and caring person. She takes the blame for Harry and Ron when they fight the troll in the castle because she realizes they were trying to protect her. She is also shown to be extremely sensitive when she cries after overhearing Ron speak rudely of her. Hermione is by far my favorite character because we share quite a lot in common, including the lack of skill in social situations.
Overall, this movie really did a great job depicting relationships between the characters, both good and bad ones. It was interesting to witness the change in Harry’s personality as he escaped an abusive home and found his own happy family.