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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Family is important, though relationships can be complicated. Love and forgiveness outweigh petty arguments. Initial judgments of others can be misleading. Believing in yourself can help conquer fears and meet challenges. Crime doesn't pay. But the movie also suggests that violence toward others is acceptable in certain circumstances.
Positive Role Models
Kevin is brave and resourceful, demonstrating courage and perseverance. He also learns to be more thoughtful and kind toward others. But he's pretty vicious in his attacks on the burglars and puts himself in dangerous situations. He also talks back to his parents and family members. Adult characters are questionable role models: Kevin's mother speaks quite harshly to him at one point, though later she shows genuine worry and remorse, going to great lengths to get to him as quickly as possible. The two burglars are greedy, threatening, show no concern for others; they're portrayed as arrogant and easily fooled. A neighbor shows unexpected kindness and insight, even though he is harshly judged by the film's kids. Overwhelmed adults and bratty kids are painted in a harsh light -- the name-calling and arguing is nonstop. Gender stereotypes are reinforced via children's toys and language from teens, such as "babes."
Violence & Scariness
Frequent slapstick violence, especially toward the end. Bullying among siblings, particularly from Kevin's older brother, Buzz. Adults fall down stairs, get hit with blunt objects, step on nails and glass, get burned, have a tarantula placed on their face, and are knocked unconscious with a snow shovel. Injury detail is shown, including burns to hand and head. The lead character, a young boy, shoots a thief in the groin area with a BB gun, which he carries around for a prolonged period and shoots at other objects. He watches a mafia-themed movie in which a character kills another with a machine gun while laughing maniacally, with the body seen convulsing on the floor riddled with bullets. An imaginary scene shows a furnace growling and talking in a threatening way. Passing mentions of murder, corpses, death by suicide.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Adult characters kiss on the lips. Kevin finds an old Playboy magazine but isn't very interested in it. Teens make reference to "nude beaches" and whether French "babes" shave their armpits.
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Language includes "s--t," "crap," "horse's ass," "keister," "butt," "shoot," "bitch," "damn," and "hell." Siblings pick on their little brother, calling him a "disease" and "puke." Other name-calling includes "idiot," "jerk," "dope," "brat," "creep," "moron," and "phlegm wad."
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Products & Purchases
Brands shown and mentioned include Pepsi, American Airlines, Micro Machines, Junior Mints, Twinkies, Tic Tac mints, Toyota, Crunch Tators, Hershey's Syrup, Tropicana, Tide, and Dodge.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Brief shots of minor characters (adults) drinking and smoking, including a man dressed as Santa smoking a cigarette. Champagne drinking on a plane.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Home Alone is a hit 1990 John Hughes-directed holiday comedy in which a young boy named Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) is left to fend for himself when his harried parents mistakenly leave him behind during a family trip. Expect disrespect between kids and adults and sibling name-calling early in the movie: Kevin is called a "disease" and "puke" by his older siblings and even a "little jerk" by his uncle, while Kevin talks back to his mother. There's no diversity (all characters are White and mostly male), and there's a ton of slapstick violence: Kevin trips would-be burglars down a flight of stairs, burns them, hits them with heavy objects, places sharp items on the ground for them to step on, and shoots them with a BB gun. Dangerous behavior with no real consequences includes Kevin sledding down the stairs and out the front door or going out shopping and walking alone after dark. Kevin also is shown watching a violent gangster movie that involves a character being repeatedly shot with a machine gun. He finds an issue of Playboy in a secret stash in his older brother's room but doesn't express much interest in it. Profanity includes "ass," "bitch," "damn," "hell," and "s--t." Overall, the movie is fun for kids and adults, but the violence and language make it inappropriate for younger children. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is a good-natured, albeit unrealistic, family film that both kids and adults will enjoy if they're OK with the violence, profanity, and disrespectful behavior. Its endearing story and a charming performance by Culkin make Home Alone a standout among the usual holiday movie fare. Without resorting to the all-too-adult double entendres that dominate many family films, this one focuses more on slapstick humor and innocence to convey its story. That said, that very reliance on slapstick does mean it's chock-full of wince-inducing violence. It's not for the weak-stomached and definitely requires some major suspension of disbelief.
Home Alone's runaway success upon release was due largely to its players, most notably Culkin. Previously cast in supporting roles in movies such as Rocket Gibraltar and Uncle Buck, Culkin is Home Alone's main attraction. Appearing in nearly every scene, he maintains a level of consistency that's a testament to both his talent and that of director Chris Columbus (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Mrs. Doubtfire). Catherine O'Hara (Best in Show, SCTV) does a fine job as Kevin's overwrought, guilt-ridden mom, and Pesci and Stern have great chemistry and handle the physical comedy with aplomb. Another performance of note is John Candy's cameo as Polka Band Shuttle Chief Gus Polanski. Although his role is brief, he nearly steals the show.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.