Home Alone is a sad, sad movie. With its Christmas setting making the content of the film even more depressing, Home Alone should be called something like Always Alone. Something like your entire family leaving you seems like it would just ruin a child in real life. What happened to these Christmas movies? I thought they were supposed to be happy!
Haha no, but really. As day 17 of Nick’s Flixmas rolls on, I watched Home Alone and rather than laugh at the cartoon antics like a sane person, I was just saddened by Kevin’s obvious cries for help.
[Nick’s Flixmas is a 25 day celebration of films Nick watches every Christmas! Nick will do some analysis, review, and just generally walk down memory lane. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the ride. Merry Flixmas!]
Home Alone is a 90s era John Hughes film and should explain the film’s awkward tone. Hughes has done wonders for teen angst comedy (The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Pretty in Pink) but for some reason the age difference in protagonists translates awfully. Kevin is an eight year old boy with the same issues Hughes gives his older characters. He’s lost in the world, ignored, and generally craves some kind of attention or sympathy. These mature mental faculties are juxtaposed against the childhood naivete the film wants you to perceive. It’s all very muddied. When you should get a kid doing kid shenanigans, you get a violent sociopath. In fact, the sociopath makes more sense when you look at Kevin’s family.
Kevin’s family not once, but twice leave Kevin alone in two films. You can blame alarm clocks and family shuffling as much as you want, but that’s terrible. Given Kevin’s absentee parenting, it’s only natural he wouldn’t associate his actions with real world violence. There’s evidence that he lacks knowledge of the world and its consequences (he tosses a playboy aside, he clearly doesn’t realize how much bricks can hurt, and he doesn’t realize the danger he’s in), and sort of just does whatever he feels like. It’s a terrible sickness continually bred through a terrible upbringing. And even when his family is around, they’re so awful you have no choice but to sympathize with the little psychopath. And if you think I’m being too harsh on his family, there are intentional camera angles that bring out a forced perspective.
His family may seem remorseful when they realized they forgot a child at home, but the film doesn’t want you to care about the family. As a visual representation of Kevin’s mind, the film blocks out and vilifies the family. Take a lot a the intro dinner scene when Kevin is being called a “little jerk.” It’s a traumatizing POV shot that singles out Kevin as someone detached from his family. It seems that while he was hesitant to disconnect with them officially (as evidenced by his initial pleas for familial connection), it looks like they made the choice for him. It only makes his eventual isolation all the more fitting.
Well then the sequel happens and all of this depression and analysis are thrown out the damn window. You know what? I’m tired of these sad Christmas movies! I need something a little more fun. More modern. More hilarious. More, uh, wait.
Tomorrow is all about A Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, the most classic of classic Christmas films.