What happens when you put one kid, one big house, and two clumsy burglars together? A Christmas classic.
Home Alone (1990) stars Macaulay Culkin as eight-year-old Kevin McCallister, who accidentally gets left behind as his family boards their flight to Paris without him. The holidays are usually time for reunions and celebrations with your loved ones, but with fifteen people in the house, chaos was just waiting for its chance. After getting belittled and yelled at by his family, Kevin’s sent up to the attic to spend the night and makes a wish born from rage—a wish that his family would disappear. Christmas is indeed a magical time, and Kevin gets what he wants. What wasn’t part of his wish were the two burglars, Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern), who had their eyes on his place. Now that Kevin’s the man of the house, he must defend it.
Since 1990, we still see little pieces of Home Alone in 2019—an announced reboot on Disney+, the famous quotes (“Keep the change, ya filthy animal”), and even images of Culkin’s iconic screaming face. There’s a reason we keep coming back to this film and why it’s become a Christmas classic. Of course, there’s the love and heartfelt sentiments, but more than that, we love seeing an eight-year-old put the burglars through a house of traps. Pesci and Stern’s expressions of frustration and rage pair well with Culkin’s mischief. Their pain is our amusement. It’s wild and creative, making it one of those comedies that never seem to get old.
The film is also an interesting take on the concept of being “home alone.” When Kevin wakes up without his family, he follows a stereotypical behaviour of a child with newfound freedom. He runs around the house, jumping everywhere, and consumes whatever junk food and violent movies he can find. Although his time alone starts out that way, it’s interesting to see how Kevin’s character takes a turn. In his mind, his wish came true and he thinks he is truly alone. After being called helpless and useless by his family, we see just how quickly he grows up. He shops for his own groceries, does his own laundry, and even sets up all the Christmas decorations. We see him mature through these little things, like no longer fearing the basement. It’s a nice character development which still keeps Kevin a child at heart.
Not only is Home Alone a fantastic comedy, it still shows important themes like family, a mother’s love, and forgiveness. After being on his own for a while, he starts to miss everyone; instead of presents, he asks “Santa” to bring them all back. At the same time, Kevin’s mother (Catherine O’Hara) has been working hard to get back to her son, despite all flights being full. All that effort and determination shows the strength of family during the most wonderful time of the year.
Home Alone is just what we need around the holidays: a bit of chaos and a reminder to cherish our loved ones.