Home Alone: 19 thoughts I had watching the Christmas classic for the first time

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It’s been almost 30 years since the release of Home Alone, the film that cemented a young Macaulay Culkin as a star and became a festive must-watch for a whole generation. What will one Stylist writer think of the film, having never seen it before?  

I was born on Christmas Eve, 1990, and yes, I’ve heard all the jokes about being my mother’s Christmas present before.

What that really means, though, is that I was too young to watch Home Alone when it was first released in December 1990. I was a baby, a literal baby, and I was too busy being a baby to go to the cinema. As I got older, never having an annual viewing of Home Alone cemented in my family’s Christmas traditions – we watched The Sound Of Music or Miracle On 34th Street or, later, Love Actually – the pop culture classic just passed me by. I know it existed, of course. I understand its basic premise: kid is alone… at home. I’ve even written about it for this very website without having seen the thing. (Ed’s note: I wish I’d been aware of this at the time…)

Until now. Given how popular Home Alone, and how beloved the movie is by all who have seen it, I decided that the time was right to finally rectify the error of my birth coinciding so unfortunately with the release of this movie and watch the damn thing. 

So, how does Home Alone rate for someone who has never seen it before? And excuse me, but is that baby Roman from Succession

1. This house is so full of people. It’s absolute chaos. What is this movie about? This kid isn’t alone at all. There’s so many people here. This, as an introverted extrovert, is genuinely my worst nightmare.

2. Oh my god! It’s little baby Roman (Kieran Culkin) from Succession! With tiny, cute glasses on his adorable face. Look at that slime puppy! 

Home Alone, 1990
Home Alone is a classic Christmas film.

3. Not the point, I know, but this John Williams score is fantastic. Sure, the man wrote iconic themes for Star Wars and Indiana Jones, but why don’t we talk about this Home Alone theme more?

4. That policeman (and star of The Irishman Joe Pesci) is a total con artist, isn’t he?

5. Poor Catherine O’Hara. First, she had to live in that haunted house in Beetlejuice and now she’s dealing with a home invasion in this movie. Imagine having to host 11 very bratty children and your nightmare brother and sister in law in the days leading up to Christmas before you all fly to France? Now that is a horror film. She earned that glass of champagne on the plane. She deserves the whole bloody bottle.

6. Speaking of… 11 kids. Six in one family, five in another. These are big families. Just imagine the Christmas shopping list!

7. Boarding a flight used to be so simple back in the day. Imagine a flight attendant telling you that, even after the flight doors were closed, you could still get on the plane and “just take any seat you can get”. Incredible. 

8. I’m worried poor Kevin is going to choke on popcorn, jumping up and down on the bed while he’s eating.

Macaulay and Kieran Culkin at the premiere of Home Alone 2.

9. Buzz’s private stash is wild. Some firecrackers, a packet of Junior Mints – how long has that been there? – an old copy of Playboy and an air rifle.

10. Honestly, this kid’s dream no parents day, watching video tapes and eating junk food, is just my regular Sunday.

11. Not the point, not the point, I know. But is the dad in this kind of cute? Something about the cable knit sweater and the salt and pepper hair… I’m into it.

12. I just got to the bit where Kevin evades the town policeman by skidding over the ice rink. This movie has so many hijinks, I’m exhausted. When are these robbers going to rob the damn house?

13. That is a very elaborate pulley system. Are we supposed to believe that this little kid did all this? Entirely on his own?

14. OK, the houses in this film are enormous. First the McCallisters’ huge New England mansion, and now this Parisian classic six with a view of the Eiffel Tower? What do these people do for a living? 

Remember the Home Alone house?

15. Oh no! That poor kid. On top of everything, his shopping bags broke!

16. Finally – this is the slapstick comedy I have been waiting for. The whole time I’ve been hearing about this movie, I assumed that it was one long set of pranks, an hour and a half of that one scene in The Parent Trap where the English Lindsay Lohan has sticky honey poured all over her and feathers blown into her face. I didn’t realise I would have to wait until the last 15 minutes to get to see some pranks! Honestly, I feel a little cheated. 

17. How are these two criminals not dead? The ice slips alone look particularly perilous. How have they made it through all of Kevin’s mishaps and misadventures without shuffling off their mortal coil?

18. The decorations are a particularly ingenious defense mechanism, as are the toy cars and Lego strewn about along the floor. That shit really hurts underfoot.

19. This is a very sweet ending, and I’m so glad that the family made it home in time to spend it with Kevin and his fabric softener on Christmas day, but I have to ask… Who cleaned up all the mess? That little boy? All on his own? Inconceivable. 

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Images: 20th Century Fox/Home Alone/Getty

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Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer based in London. You can find her on the internet talking about movies, television and Chris Pine.

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