Genre: Comedy, Christmas, Family.
Starring: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, John Heard, Catherine O’Hara, Roberts Blossom.
Year Of Release: 1990
Runtime: 102 Minutes
Director: Chris Columbus
Synopsis: “An 8-year old troublemaker must protect his home from a pair of burglars when he is accidentally left home alone by his family during Christmas vacation.” IMDB
With plenty of silly moments and wonderfully funny set pieces, courtesy of the famous booby-trapped finale, this delivers lots of heart in a story full of witty and charming moments. It made an international star out of Macaulay Culkin, and it’s easy to see why at just 8 years old. He delivers everything you’d expect from a little one home alone; joy, sadness, fear, confidence and pride.
Coupled with fine support from Catherine O’Hara and John Heard as Kevin’s parents, who head the family and their chaotic race back to America, this is a wonderfully family orientated film. From spending too much time together, from NOT spending enough time together and then bickering, laughing, fighting and valuing each other, this film has it all which we identify straight away from the opening scene. The chaotic family Christmas is made more relevant and easy to slip right into the frantic world of the McCallisters.
When the jokes and mad-cap fun and games of being home alone settle, we have some really nice tender moments seeing how scary the world can be for a child who has to learn to grow up far sooner than they should. Branded as a shop-lifter by accident, learning to conquer the fear of his basement and navigating a supermarket are all shown here in a nice way, but Culkin and the others convey a real sense of isolation and sadness away from the joy of the season that heightens how much family is important at this time of year.
BUT Kevin has much more time to raise smiles with his cheeky ways at fending off the ‘Wet Bandits’ time and time again, and his inner-monologues as he discovers adult pleasures such as eating as much junk food as you want, looking at nude Playboy pinups and using Dads aftershave are also a relatable sight!
And kudos to the dastardly duo, our ‘Wet Bandits’, Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern (who has THE best scream on film ever). They easily make the film something memorable with their imposing little and large appearance and their toe-curling, painful suffering at the hands of Kevin in the finale, which has nothing to do with ‘Skyfall’ thank you very much. They’re a great comedic pair and work so well together; Pesci being the brains, Stern being the oaf. And we have no swearing or no graphic violence – action comedy films CAN be just as effective without it (or it could be back in the 90s).
With a brilliant festive soundtrack, wonderful dead-pan performances and a very original premise that all children have dreamt about at some point and full of memorable one-liners and action, this works its way up to be a real classic Christmas family film.