Easily the best Christmas movie for kids growing up in the eighties and nineties, and deserves to be mentioned along side the classics from previous decades. It is no small feat that this has already become for many, traditional Christmas viewing, given that it is still a fairly recent film, at least in comparison to The Snowman, It’s A Wonderful Life, Santa Claus The Movie etc. For kids, the movie has everything- action, excitement, humour, and for everyone else the story and acting are engaging.
The idea of being left Home Alone for a while, especially after your relatives have been so annoying, will appeal to kids as they will have peace to do anything they want and let their imaginations fly. Cue lots of ice cream and sled rides down stairs. The film shows depth by letting us see the initial down side to being alone- the house can be scary even for the most resourcful and confident child when it gets dark, and you know your parents are not there to help. The plot sees the massive Mcallister family planning to go on holiday for Christmas. After an unfortunate pizza incident at the dinner table, young Kevin is sent to bed and locked in. The next morning there is a rush, and the family leave for the airport without Kevin, only realising what has happened when they are on the plane. They try to find a way home, but this is not easy as it’s Chritmas, meeting snotty clerks and unhelpful fools before John Candy steps in. Meanwhile, two crooks plan to rob the Mcallister house, knowing it’s empty, but soon realise that Kevin is inside. Kevin sees that it is up to him to protect his house, and begins setting up traps for the intruders. What follows is great entertainment.
Yes it may at times be soppy, but it is a family Christmas film and much of the scmaltz is covered by some great invention and quite painful slapstick. It is much smarter than you may think, probably accounting for much of its great success, and the acting, particularly from Culkin and Pesci is impressive. O’Hara is also good while the rest of the cast, in small roles do well. The set pieces are ingenious, ensuring that every 10 year old boy will come up with their own ways to stop bad guys.
The special features are non-existent, which is poor for such a successful film. A commentary would have been good, and a making of or documentary showing where some of the ideas came from could have been interesting and full of nostalgic goodness. It may be better to buy a set with the sequel for better value.
Feel free to leave your comments on the movie-where should this appear on the list of best Christmas movies?