WHAT I LIKED: 'Home Alone,' is just the perfect idea for a Christmas film - what would happen if a kid was left in his family home all alone over Christmas? Apparently, he'd have a great time watching all the movies he shouldn't and eating whatever he likes, but he'd also get scared by a few things, learn to fend for himself, and ultimately come to realise that family is the most important thing. This is all great fun to watch, as is the infamous burglary stuff in the final act, and that's because the script plays it all up so well and director Chris Columbus revels in each moment of pure joy or fear. Indeed, as can be seen in virtually all of his films, this is a director who clearly enjoys constructing individual moments that focus on things which other filmmakers might gloss over in service of the bigger idea. In Harry Potter for example, he spends a long time having characters simply wonder at the magic of the world that's been created, and here he similarly closes in on his actors' faces (and even has narrative dialogue) to see how they're feeling about everything that happens and really emphasises momentary expectation and anticipation by showing the audience things that characters are about to experience before they see it. This is all helped by a great child performance from Macaulay Culkin and a wonderful score from John Williams, and in the end it makes for what is truly the perfect Christmas film.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: It's hardly a profound thematic masterpiece of character depth and emotional resonance, but for what it is it's a great movie.
VERDICT: A fun Christmas film with a great central concept, Chris Columbus' 'Home Alone,' works because it revels in the joy of its great individual moments.