Christmas Classics: ‘Home Alone’



Graphic by Mae Bruce

‘Home Alone’ (1990) continues to be a holiday classic almost 30 years later.

Known as a holiday classic, Home Alone evokes themes of holiday nostalgia, warmth, and happiness. The story follows the humorous endeavors of Kevin McCallister as he serves vigilante justice to two con men, Harry and Marv, who plan to rob his house. While the premise of the movie may seem childish and unrealistic, the guileless innocence and joy of being a hero is something that all ages should experience. With the film sustaining its successful run for almost two decades, it’s clear that this film is, and will continue to be, something to look forward to in the holiday season.

The movie starts off with an argument, and young Kevin is banished to the attic for the night, to punish him for acting out. However, this supposed one night stay is extended after Kevin’s family leaves for Paris, forgetting him in the house. Instead of crying, the always positive Kevin finds joy in staying home, watching violent videos and learning to shave while his parents are gone. However, his joy soon runs out when he finds out that he is now the sole protector of his house from the Wet Bandits, Harry and Marv. What ensues is a surprisingly violent and successful attempt to drive the bandits away while his parents scramble to get back home and spend Christmas with him.

While Kevin’s parents may seem forgetful, or downright neglectful, the McCallister family is the perfect example of a dysfunctional family during the holidays. Arguing with family is something that everyone of all ages can relate to, but the film, alongside Kevin’s adventures, shows the sympathetic aftermath of an argument. Kevin’s mother reflects on her own actions, realizing that she has allowed him to be forgotten in family affairs. Kevin, during his defense of the house, also reflects over the his regret of wishing to be left alone from his family. They end up forgiving each other and the underlying theme of family brings a sentimental touch to this otherwise humorous plot.

There are many reasons why the film has sustained it’s fame for so long. From John Williams as a composer, to real stuntmen purposely tripping all of the dangerous traps in the house, the directors put a lot of effort into making the movie what it is. However, the real star is the actor who plays Kevin, Macaulay Culkin. At the time, he wasn’t a relatively experienced child actor, only citing minor roles on his resume. However, his improvisational skills made up for his inexperience, and he brought a kooky, childlike humor to the movie. The iconic after-shave scene was actually completely improvised by Culkin, and it was so funny that the director, Chris Columbus, kept it in the final cut. The other cast members also combined work with play, allowing real tarantulas as one of Kevin’s traps, and creating humorous facial expressions during action scenes. Since the cast tried to enjoy their experience, the film seems genuine.

Home Alone is a movie that has spanned generations, with the messages within resonating with people of all ages. Whether you are looking for a warm holiday movie or just a fun time, Home Alone will bring laughter to people of all ages.