Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 – 7.30pm, ITV
The fantasy franchise comes to a hugely satisfying and teary-eyed conclusion as Voldemort and Harry clash for the last time, with a sensational revelation about the hero schoolboy’s destiny, which Dumbledore had kept secret. Continuing where Part 1 left off, Harry, Hermione and Ron search for the magical horcruxes, the key to the evil lord’s immortality. Every beloved character gets their moment in the spotlight as white dragons fly over London, ghouls hover eerily around Hogwarts and its plucky pupils prepare for battle.
The technical wizardry on display is perfectly crafted and fires the imagination like never before. There’s also a deliciously menacing gravity lacking from previous episodes that puts the final spectacular confrontation on a truly mythic plane. Packing an emotional wallop, too, in the moments Snape’s story is uncovered and in Harry’s ghostly parental encounter, David Yates directs this lavish epic with the surest of hands.
The Thing 10.55pm ITV4
Science-fiction horror starring Kurt Russell. In the Antarctic, a team of American scientists discover the remains of a spacecraft near an abandoned Norwegian research station. While investigating the expedition’s fate, the Americans come under threat from a terrifying alien organism.
The Pursuit of Happyness, 6.35pm 5*
Will Smith reins in his customary exuberance to deliver a beautifully understated performance as real-life San Francisco father Chris Gardner, who, in the 1980s, battled against astonishing adversity to achieve his American Dream. When his wife Linda (Thandie Newton) leaves him, Gardner takes custody of their five-year-old child (played by Smith’s delightful real-life son, Jaden) and then faces a catalogue of disasters as they become homeless and he tries to pursue a new career. Smith’s restraint works wonderfully here and he makes every facial flicker count. Yet while Gardner’s spirits surprisingly never droop despite his tribulations, the same cannot be said for those watching this noble rags-to-riches drama.
The overall message may be a positive one, but it’s agonising to watch such a decent man suffer, with Italian director Gabriele Muccino (The Last Kiss) seemingly determined to keep his English language debut as unsentimental as possible. Ultimately the film is expertly constructed with faultless central turns, but it would have benefited from being more uplifting.
Want more great TV recommendations for tonight from the Radio Times experts? Download our free iPad app