This entry hardly needs an introduction. The “Home Alone” franchise made its start twenty five years ago and has become one of the most prolific Christmas traditions. Child star Macaulay Culkin graces its original instalment as young Kevin McCallister – an eight-year-old grump who has trouble dealing with an overcrowded family. Chris Collumbus, a known name in the world of production, made a step in directing this project and has harvested worldwide reputation from it. The very first festive video cassette I owned happened to be “Home Alone” and it brings me great nostalgia to say – here’s the long-overdue review.
The McCallisters are going on vacation to Paris and everything is set – luggage, cousins, aunties and pizza. A staggering fifteen people wonder about the Illinois home the day before Christmas eve, buzzing like bees for their big adventure. Among them is young Kevin, who seems to always get the raw end of the deal. Upon being punished for causing chaos, he wishes his family would simply disappear.That desire is fulfilled when the boy gets left behind next morning in the rush to a late airport drive. Life suddenly becomes a party for the kid, who has waited for an opportunity like this years in time. However, a pair of local robbers also have plans for Kevin’s home and they’d travel great lengths in fulfilling them. When nightfall comes, they make a move, not expecting the child to fight back in a determined attempt to defend his castle. From then on, it is a fast-track rollercoaster through laughter and excitement as both sides try to even the score. Will Kevin get his family back in time for Christmas day? Will he regret having pushed them away in the first place? One thing’s for sure, the Wet Bandits will receive everything they deserve that holiday, burns and bruises included.
Macaulay Culkin’s star made a breakthrough with the “Home Alone” empire, launching the child’s career into A-list heights. It has since died down, but not before making his face a household image. Culkin’s performance has been appraised by spectators and critics for a reason. We see the innocence and naïvety of every child seep through, complimented by grand fantasies and painful realisations. A character and performance we can truly identify with, presented on a platter of catchy Christmas tunes and flickering faery lights.
Catherine O’Hara is a panicky, fidget-prone Kate McCallister, whose most memorable scene breaks the fourth wall of cinema. “We forgot Kevin!”, she shouts on her flight to Paris, having realised the unimaginable, yet hilarious gaff. That line has become so iconic, it has sprouted a boy band and a fandom.
Chances are I wouldn’t need to sell this film, because most of you have already fallen in love with it. However, it would’t hurt to try. There’s laughter, there’s tears, there’s the heartbreakingly sweet story of Old Man Marley and the adorable Gus Polinski’s polka group. Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern are the Wet Bandit duo, a thieving pair of dimwits, who get made into complete fools by young Kevin. Both actors are exceptionally believable, portraying finely grated stupidity and undying ambition for their task.
All in all, “Home Alone” has almost everything you’d need in a perfect Christmas film, albeit having missed Santa Clause himself. It’s a heart-warming reminder of our families’ importance in the homeliest celebration of them all.
Naturally, I recommend a cheese pizza with this gem, and maybe a cup of chocolate milk for the soul.
Stay awesome! Four days to go.