Home Alone, 1990
Starring Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, Catherine O’Hara, John Heard, and John Candy.
Synopsis (From Netflix):
Families suck. That’s the opinion of 8-year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin), whose family unwittingly leaves him behind when they go on vacation. In no time, Kevin makes the most of the situation, watching forbidden flicks and pigging out on junk food. But when a pair of bungling burglars (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) set their sights on Kevin’s house, the plucky kid stands ready to defend his territory — by planting booby traps galore!
When my sister suggested we watch a Christmas movie last night we mulled over which to choose. Did we want some holiday romance with Love Actually, or a Christmas class like Miracle on 34th Street? Should we watch our annual favorite A Christmas Story? Instead we dug out an old VHS of Home alone, a movie neither of us had seen in a good 15 years. I had remembered it being hilarious as a child, with all the booby trapping, but what I had forgot was the poignant messages hidden within this glitzy comedy. This film not only entertained but spoke to the importance of family, of forgiveness, and of not listening to rumors but seeking out the truth for oneself.
Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveller, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home! ~ Charles Dickens
I think we have all been where Kevin has at one point in our lives. We let the annoying habits of our loved ones blind us to how much we actually love and appreciate them. We also can be blinded by prejudice, like Kevin was with his neighbor due to rumors about him being a serial killer. Instead the neighbor turned out to be a kind old man who was looking to reconnect with his family but didn’t know how.
I think this is something we can all work on, patience and forgiveness. These two virtues are things that if Kevin and his family had had for one another at the beginning of the film then perhaps he wouldn’t have been home alone. But patience and forgiveness are tough. They involve letting go of the ego, and becoming humble, as well as putting others’ needs before our own.
It is also lucky that Kevin was home alone, since burglars had decided to target his house. One of the great things about this comedy was how responsible Kevin had become when home alone. After initially partying and going hog-wild, he got bored of that, and instead he went grocery shopping, cleaned the house, put up decorations, did laundry, and practiced hygiene all without adult supervision. Pretty impressive for an eight-year-old.
“Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value. Education can, alone, cause it to reveal its treasures, and enable mankind to benefit there from.”
I think this speaks to the power of being given responsibility. Kevin was the baby of the family and everyone treated him that way to the point where he wasn’t confident that he could pack his own suitcase as nobody was willing to take the time to teach him. But when given responsibility he was able to rise to the occasion. So often we are our own gatekeepers from success and achievement. If we can’t believe we can do something we won’t try. And if people are telling us we can’t we can make the mistake of listening. But when Kevin was alone he had to learn to be self reliant and in doing so realized he didn’t have to be a baby anymore.
O MY SERVANT! Free thyself from the fetters of this world, and loose thy soul from the prison of self. Seize thy chance, for it will come to thee no more. ~Baháʼuʼlláh
Another wonderful moment in this film is when Kevin is running away from the bad guys, and seeks asylum at the church. This is where he meets up with his neighbor and talks to him for the first time without being scared, and overcomes his prejudice. Kevin and the old man were able to help each other recognize love and overcome fear. I find it comforting to have a positive portrayal of a church in a Christmas film. So often Christmas comedies seem to leave out the religious aspect of this holiday. But Christmas is a time that reminds us to look past our differences, religious or otherwise, and come together. This scene showed that beautifully.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. ~ 1 John 4:7-12
And then there is the happy reunion of the family, which really is just delightful.
We have caused thee to return to thy home as a token of Our mercy unto thy mother, inasmuch as We have found her overwhelmed with sorrow. We have enjoined you in the Book “to worship no one but God and to show kindness to your parents”. Thus hath the one true God spoken and the decree hath been fulfilled by the Almighty, the All-Wise. Therefore We have caused thee to return unto her and unto thy sister, that your mother’s eyes may thereby be cheered, and she may be of the thankful. ~ Bahá’u’lláh
So with that I wish those who celebrate (religiously or secularly) a Merry Christmas! For those who do not observe, Happy Friday! and to everyone a wonderful new year!