It’s that time of year. Time for those warm, cosy feelings, sitting down with family and loved ones – and watching a film about child neglect, abandonment, and two people being lured into traps that, at best, would leave them on the verge and at worst death.
That’s right it’s Home Alone. The original 1990 holiday classic. (Not the Disney+ remake, we don’t talk about that).
Let’s be honest – Home Alone is one of those Christmas films that everyone watches every year. And that all comes down to the charm. The cast, the script, and the atmosphere of the entire film are just magical and enjoyable to watch. It’s helped by the fact it’s timeless. From the 1990s (when it was originally released) until now, it’s watchable in any era and still works. (Sure, the context of watching it in 2021 brings up the question “why doesn’t Kevin’s mum just call her son on the phone?” but that is easily ignored).
As for the cast, while he did star in more productions after this before semi-retiring from acting, Macaulay Culkin — who plays Kevin — is still an amazing kid actor. Good kid actors are hard to find — at least the ones that hold their own against actors more than triple. Culkin manages to compare to, and sometimes even outshine, his adult co-stars. He’s youthful without being obnoxious. He’s funny without having to force it. He is, to put it simply, one of the greats.
As for the Wet Bandits, both Harry and Marv (played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern respectively) aren’t the most complex villains ever. But that isn’t a bad thing. If a story is more focused on the hero’s journey, then the bland cookie cutter villains help by just being an obstacle and thus making the hero look better. Which does work here.
As for the rest of the cast, they’re all solid in their roles. However, someone who should be singled out is Catherine O’Hara as Kevin’s mum. The scenes where she realises, he’s at home, and her trying to get back to him, manage to tread the fine line between being comedic and heartwarming. While exaggerated, it isn’t that far off from any parent trying to get their child back to see if they’re ok.
Want to watch something Christmas-y and timeless? Then leave your kids at home, thus forcing them to build Saw like traps as their defence and go and see Home Alone.
(Film Review by Jacob James)