A couple of days before Christmas, eight-year-old Kevin’s (Macaulay Culkin) extended family gather at his home before setting off for a family vacation in France. Kevin is naughty and ends up sleeping in the attic.
When everyone oversleeps on the morning of departure, they get into a frenzied rush to make it to the airport and no-one notices that they’ve accidentally left Kevin behind. Kevin wakes up and realises that he’s home alone. Delighted with the freedom to do whatever he wants at first, Kevin soon realises that he misses his family, even though he’d wanted them to disappear when he was angry.
Things get worse when notorious burglars, Harry and Marv (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern), target Kevin’s house. Meanwhile, Kevin’s family desperately try and fail to make contact and travel back. Kevin is determined to defend his home and comes up with an impressive arsenal to trap the surprised and clumsy burglars.
Slapstick humour; resourcefulness; importance of family
Home Alone has a lot of slapstick violence. For example, while home alone, Kevin watches a gangster movie in which someone gets brutally shot.
Also, when the two burglars, Harry and Marv, try to burgle his home, Kevin sets numerous traps. Although Keven’s traps cause the burglars plenty of pain, they aren’t as seriously injured as they would be in real life. These violent scenes are scripted to be funny, which trivialises and legitimises the use of violence. For example:
- Harry and Marv get shot with an airgun, slip and fall down stairs covered in ice, get smashed into a wall, and get hit with a shovel.
- Marv gets violently hit in the head, first with an iron and then with a bucket of paint. He steps on nails and sharp objects, which have been laid out on purpose.
- Harry badly burns his hand, has his beanie set on fire, and gets hit with a crowbar.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Nudity and sexual activity
Home Alone has some references to nudity. For example:
- Kevin finds a Playboy magazine in his teenage brother’s room, but no graphic details are visible. He flicks through it and says, ‘No clothes on anybody, sickening’.
- Kevin’s teenage brother speculates about nude beaches in France and whether French girls do or don’t shave their armpits.
The following products are displayed or used in Home Alone: Playboy magazine.
There is some name-calling and coarse language as well as insults in this movie, including ‘you little jerk’, ‘crap’, ‘shut up’, ‘ass’, ‘You’re such a disease’, ‘You are a puke’, ‘dummy’, ‘family sucks’, ‘you filthy animal’, ‘you little creep’, ‘morons’ and ‘big horse arse’.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Home Alone is a classic and entertaining family holiday movie made in 1990 and full of 90s fashion, technology and other references like having to queue up at a pay phone.
Home Alone has a strong cast, a lot of slapstick comedy, and some positive and important messages. But because of its violence, coarse language and some sexual references, it isn’t suitable for children under 7 years and we recommend parental guidance for children aged up to 10 years.
These are the main messages from this movie:
- It’s important to be adaptable and resourceful when times demand it.
- There’s nothing more important than family.
- It’s important to make up after an argument.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include resilience, resourcefulness, creativity, bravery, friendship and love.
This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues like making a joke of violence. It’s important for younger children to be aware that, in real life, some of Kevin’s pranks could have serious and potentially fatal consequences.