It's almost impossible to pick the greatest bits of wrongness in last night's Lifetime Original movie about the life of Harry Potter's creator... but we'll try. Magic Beyond Words: The J.K. Rowling Story was a casserole of crap British accents and sentimentality, covered with cheese.
Take the above clip, in which the young Jo Rowling is riding on a train, thinking about her schoolteacher telling her that she'll never amount to anything as long as she gives in to her "flights of fancy." And then suddenly, she's in a dream, and she's a little girl playing at magic in the woods. Soon, the grown-up Jo is there too, looking at random Hogwarts shwag scattered around the forest — and then she meets Harry Potter for the first time!
Lifetime's J.K. Rowling biopic did tackle some dark subject matter, showing Rowling's harrowing experience of domestic violence and poverty, but the whole thing was topped with heaping spoonfuls of saccharine. And the above section isn't the only part where the Lifetime crew attempts to depict the creative process in the most cheesetastic, mystifying way possible. Check out this scene, where Jo is typing the "Sorting Hat" chapter, and all her "Sting's music video" candles start levitating around her:
I did like the bit after that, where she goes to pick up her welfare check, and the clerk transforms into one of the goblins from Gringotts Bank. That was quite nice.
Quite possibly the cheesiest part, though, is when Jo shows her novel to her sister for the first time. If someone asks you whether you liked their fantasy novel and you don't want to give a straight answer, it's best to say, "It's magical." Because after all, all fantasy novels are magical. Right?
I won't give away how the biopic ends — does she get her book published? Or does her penchant for crazily levitating candles cause her apartment to burn down? — but it is sort of sweet, in spite of the souffle of campiness, to see the struggling author make good and have fancy people kissing her ass. Yay for J.K.!