Aneesh Chaganty

Movie #343 Home Alone

In Uncategorized on September 7, 2011 at 3:03 AM

Movie #343 Home Alone

(1990, US, d. Chris Columbus)

The prequel to the greatest Christmas film of all time, Home Alone is a film that tends to follow most preconceived notions and formulaic strategies laid down for it by child-oriented Christmas films of the past, but is has one thing on its side: luck. For some reason, Home Alone becomes something more. Something only the most audacious (or naive) filmmaker could ever wish for upon embarking on a film: to make a classic. Often cited not only on lists of best Christmas movies, but also best family films, Home Alone is a film that is completely a one-man show. Or a one-child show. Newcomer Macaulay Culkin (unfortunately, not on th Hollywood radar any longer and most definitely not on the cute radar any longer) dominates every frame here, in a great way. I directed a short film this summer in which the main actor was an 8 year old girl and over the course of the arduous casting process as well as the long nights of shooting, you come to realize one truth: with child actors, you either got it or you don’t. No matter how much emotion you want to see from a kid, they can either give it you or they can’t. And it’s very easy to tell early on. Culkin just has it. And he has it with style, flair, and everything between cute and adorable the English language can conceive of. A John Hughes production, it also has the obvious asset of being a story with heart. Combine that with a funny logline and a near-perfect lead and I guess you got a classic.


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