“I don't want any family. Families suck!” Producer Mark Levinson said that once in a while, every kid thinks that if they could get rid of their parents and vice versa, life would be great. Chris Columbus’s 1990 hit Christmas film, Home Alone, shapes that wish into a clever tale with the addition of burglars. Left home alone, Kevin, the eight-year old victim of sibling bullying, becomes the man of the deserted household, and like a responsible child, enjoys everything once forbidden by his parents, washes the clothes, shops for milk and dinner, and defends the house, with all the wild resourcefulness a child can muster, against a pair of burglars who are fishing for “Silver Tuna” homes during the holidays. Home Alone is a well-written tale with clever booby traps, comical, lumbering burglars and strong family values.
Unfortunately, this film is not completely laudable in both content and quality. Due to Kevin’s deterring, but simple snares, mildly-strong language is steadily and sporadically spouted out by the angry bandits with Kevin rejoining every so often to discourage them. Also, Kevin, his siblings and other family members repeatedly name-call each other near the beginning. A classic for (most) ages, the entertaining plot held me on the edge of my seat, while keeping me laughing and wincing at the asinine sufferings of the bandits. But however well-written the script and storyline was, I downright detested the unpleasant acting, chiefly of Kevin and his family. Although a couple veteran actors made appearances in it, even their performances were particularly rotten. Excepting Joe Pesci’s convincing performance as Harry Lime, the dreadful awkwardness of blank and unemotional neophyte actors constantly diverted my attention away from the themes of the film.
I’ve mentioned theme and plot frequently. Written by John Hughes, the characters of the film, though some appear useless to the film’s plot, fit flawlessly into the importance of the film. For instance, Old Man Marley seems to be just another object of dread and fright for Kevin, but throughout the course of the film, we learn the truth about him along with many life-lessons exchanged between them. Although slightly overused by family movies, the positive elements in this film are quite strong and emphasized, significantly engulfing the expletives and violence, hence earning my high content rating. When they discover the loss of their child, Kevin’s mother, Kate (Catherine O’Hara), expresses her remorse and love as she sacrifices all her possessions and sleep while she attempts to return alone to their home in Chicago with caring donors providing transportation for every leg. Scored by John Williams, Home Alone’s memorable “Somewhere in My Memory” yet again illustrates these ideals. While not the best acted or produced Christmas flick, the superb plot, humor, lessons and implications make Home Alone an engaging, heart-felt annual tradition.