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Film Review: Home Alone

Updated on December 24, 2015

Background

In 1990, Chris Columbus released Home Alone, which was produced and written by John Hughes. Starring Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, John Heard, Catherine O’Hara, Roberts Blossom, Devin Ratray, Mike Maronna, Hillary Wolf, Angela Goethals, John Candy, Larry Hankin, and Ken Hudson Campbell, the film grossed $476.7 million at the box office. At one point the third highest grossing film of all time, the film was nominated for the Academy Awards for Best Original Score and Best Original Song. There have also been sequels; two released theatrically in 1992 and 1997 and two made-for-TV films in 2002 and 2012. Culkin also reprised his role as an adult Kevin in the web series “DRYVRS” in 2015.

Synopsis

It’s Christmastime and Kevin McCallister’s extended family have come to stay overnight with his immediate family to prepare for their vacation to France. But when Kevin causes trouble during dinner, he’s forced to sleep in the attic and yells that he never wants to see his family ever again. When the family oversleeps and hurries to the airport, they leave Kevin behind, who wakes up to find that he’s home alone.

Background

Yet another one of the most popular Christmas films, Home Alone continues to hold up and remain a pretty decent film throughout the years. And while the plot itself is largely done well, it really makes use of a lot of forced coincidences in order for Kevin to be left by himself. He and Buzz fighting spills milk, which ends up on Kevin’s plane ticket that ends up getting thrown away and Kevin’s punishment of being sent to the attic keeps him out of sight. Further when the windstorm knocks the power out and causes the family to oversleep, the nosy neighbor gets mistaken for Kevin during the headcount and the family is all given random seats, thus no one realizes he’s gone until they’re well up in the air. But the story doesn’t really start until Kevin realizes he’s made his family disappear and everything following the realization actually does make for a good story.

Being left alone really helps Kevin to understand just how much he was overreacting when he wished to be left alone and have all of his family disappear. Throughout the film, though he gets involved with a lot of hijinks between Harry and Marv, he comes to see that his family actually is important and he does miss them when they’re not around. Granted, he’s able to fend for himself, go shopping and keep the house reasonably tidy, but that only furthers his realization. There’s also his fears of the basement. Though it seems like it was out of nowhere, it makes sense that he’d be afraid of it, seeing as he’s probably always had someone to go down for him so he wouldn’t have to deal with the furnace. But his conversation with Old Man Marley not only helps him completely understand how his loneliness would only grow without his family, but that the basement really isn’t all that scary of a place. What’s more is that Kevin conquering his fear of the basement also brings about his desire to defend his house and not be afraid of the burglars.

As burglars, Harry and Marv are nothing if not determined to rob Kevin’s house, refusing to give up and go to what could only be considered an easier mark upon being met with all of Kevin’s booby traps. But they’re also stupid, with Marv’s lesser intelligence only being a different degree of stupidity than Harry. The two of them also have very distinct personalities that help to make the film much more enjoyable.

Harry thinks of himself as a tough guy, but is shown to be a tremendous wimp after running into Kevin’s traps, and is the leader of the duo. He may be pretty dumb, but he was also smart enough to get information from homeowners by disguising himself as a policeman and is shown to draw the line at actually permanently damaging a house by leaving water running as a calling card.

At the same time, Marv just goes along with Harry and is really just a big kid, thinking of themselves as one of the greatest pairs of bandits, giving themselves a name and leaving the aforementioned calling card. He also shows just what little thinking skills he has in continuing to walk over broken glass instead of just clearing it. But he does get some good points in, like mentioning that Harry’s plan to rob the house with Kevin inside not being a good idea.

4 stars for Home Alone

the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent WNI's positions, strategies or opinions.

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    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 20 months ago

      Yes, home alone is a fun film. It is one of those films where reality has to be checked in the lobby. That is almost par for the course for Christmas movies.