Jared’s review published on Letterboxd:
you've got dirt, on your nose.
One of those rare occasions when nostalgia deserves to be thoughtfully considered in regards to the actual quality of the film, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is fantastic. There's a good deal of animosity aimed at Columbus' work on the first two, for reasons I don't really buy into. Tonally, they're vastly disparate from the subsequent six films, much lighter and childish; content to simply amaze audiences with basic magic and storytelling. As the franchise progressed, each film dived deeper into the characters, developing some moderately complex themes in relation to the core narrative. In simple terms, they're more mature.
But I don't think The Philosopher's Stone gets nearly enough credit. As I've always said, the magic of the Harry Potter story lies in the fact that, like us, Harry was at one time an outsider to the wizarding world. As he is exposed to the wonders of this world, so are we. That is key. The Philosopher's Stone is 90% exposure, as Columbus impeccably renders Rowling's world to the big screen, taking his time to construct the myth, the cast and the look. Pardon the cheap wordplay, but it really is magical in most every way. Much of the film may just be reduced to "oooh's" and "aahhhh's", but I think there's more to it than that.
Many may scoff at my five star rating, and that's fine. By giving it this score, I'm not saying it's one of the best films of all time by any means, rather that for what is was supposed to be, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone marks itself as a near-perfect cultural and commercial commodity. I don't think there is enough stock put into the simple idea that not every film is striving to be the same thing. The Philsopher's Stone, while certainly a good film for all audiences, is geared toward kids; designed to capture the love of a young generation. It's a satisfyingly simple and emotional experience for the whole family, one of those childhood favorites that reveals greater depth and deftness the more I watch it. I don't think there are many child films that could claim superiority over this, and for that reason I'm staying at five stars. I'll always love this movie, it's one of those I cannot wait to watch with my hypothetical children. Enchanting entertainment that can be appreciated by mostly everyone.