Home Alone Movie Review (Christmas Special)
A happy first Advent! Christmas time is upon us again and what better way to celebrate this festive moment, than with a couple of reviews of X-mas classics?
Genre: Christmas / Comedy
Director: Chris Columbus
Cast: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, Catherine O’Hara, John Heard, Roberts Blossom, Devin Ratray, Gerry Bamman & John Candy.
Run Time: 103 min.
US Release: 16 November 1990
UK Release: 07 December 1990
German Release: 17 January 1991
Welcome to my first Christmas Special. I will be posting every Advent Sunday until Christmas Eve a review of one of my favourite Christmas movies. Today I will be writing about Home Alone, one of the first films I remember seeing as a child on Christmas. It does not only count as one of my dearests, due to the nostalgic factor, but I actually find it to be one of the better movies revolving around the holidays and a game-changer for Christmas blockbusters.
Home Alone shines with perfectly placed comedic moments and really funny performances by Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, Catherine O’Hara and Macaulay Culkin. While not stellar acting, the comedic input by the actors made this movie so memorable.
Overall, this Christmas film received rather poor reviews from film critics; Roger Ebert even went as far and called it implausible. Sure the movie does have plot holes and an unbelievable story, but it is a holiday comedy and disbelief is part of what makes this film great. When watching Home Alone, I just sit back and enjoy seeing Kevin take on the two burglars!
— WARNING, THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS! —
Kevin McCallister is an 8-year-old boy and the plight of the McCallister family. When the family oversleeps and has to race to the airport, little Kevin is overlooked and left alone at home. As he wakes up and finds the house empty, his first thought is that his previous wish - to erase his family from existence - turned real and celebrates it by doing everything he was not allowed to do.
Kevin’s mother Kate finally realizes they forgot him and tries to find a way back from Paris, to get to her son who she can’t contact, due to a storm that killed the phone lines. While mean, back in the Chicago suburbs two burglars make their rounds robbing houses and when they come across little Kevin, being all alone at home, they decide to take out the kid at night and rob the place.
Kevin needs to man up and fight his biggest fears to protect his family home from the two mischievous men. He devises a battle plan to improve the house’s security, by improvising and using everyday tools. The plot and script of this movie would nowadays be categorised as cheesy slapstick comedy, but Home Alone is more than that. We can all relate with Kevin, children as well as adults, as the 8-year-old Chicago resident is battling with everyday household chores, such as laundry, grocery shopping and shovelling snow outside the house’s driveway.
I also love how it depicts the fear of small children from either the den or the radiator in the basement, as well as creepy-looking neighbours. These all are moments we can identify with the main character since we were all once afraid of something that felt unnatural to us.
My only issue with Home Alone is the dialogue, which sometimes comes off as too light-hearted and makes it hard to take seriously during specific plot moments. Culkin’s line delivery, although most of the time quite good, came off as goofy from time to time. Overall though, I found the script and story quite amusing. Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister was great; he really incorporated that character and made him incredibly likeable, even when he was being a brat. Without Culkin, Home Alone would have never had the success it had. Kate McCallister was played by Catherine O’Hara and played her part as the worrying but headstrong mother pretty well.
Harry and Marv are, apart from Kevin, my two favourite characters. They play two stupid and incredibly easy-to-manipulate thugs, who are outwitted by an 8-year-old. Their chemistry is fantastic and I loved seeing them trying to team up against the little plague. By the end they manage to catch the “boy wonder” and Kevin is saved in the nick of time by elderly neighbour Marley (Robert Blossom). One of the most memorable parts of this comedy is its flawless musical score composed by John Williams and also features some of the classic holiday songs, such as White Christmas by The Drifters, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Mel Torme or Run Rudolph Run by Chuck Berry. If the movie’s story did not set you in a Christmas mood, the soundtrack surely will.
Verdict: Home Alone might not be a perfect movie, but it is one of my favourite Christmas films! It has a relatable main character; two stupidly funny antagonists and some unforgettable home defences build by an 8-year-old. It is one of the first movies I watch around this time of year and I can only recommend it to anyone who has not seen it yet! This is true family fun for everybody and I’ll give it an 8.0 out of 10.
So, what are your favourite Christmas movies? Do you agree with my opinion of Home Alone? Leave a comment below and I hope you look forward to my next Christmas Special, which will be on Bad Santa.