Study Guide

Home Alone Genre

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Christmas Movie, Kids' Movie, Comedy

Home Alone isn't a Santa focused Christmas movie or a Jesus-centric Christmas movie—but it is a Christmas movie. For one thing, it takes place during the Christmas season. That's the first prerequisite. But is it about Christmas?

In short, yes.

Technically, it's about a kid being left alone at home, but since he ends up yearning for family togetherness, and even asks a fake Santa to tell the real Santa to bring his family back home for Christmas, it's thematically a very Christmas-y movie too.

It's also a kids' movie. Technically, almost everyone likes watching a burglar step on a nail or burn his hand on a doorknob—but slapstick violence appeals to children in a very special way. Kids love violence. (Don't believe us? Peep The Lord of the Flies).

Plus, Home Alone empowers children, in that it shows a child attacking grown men and successfully beating them to a bloody pulp. It says to kids: hey, maybe you can shop for your own toothpaste, and also smash burglars with paint cans. Be self-reliant.

Finally, it's a comedy because—it's funny. If you step on a nail, it's not funny. But if someone else does it, and it's fictitious—that's instant comedy. We enjoy watching characters go through painful experiences, especially if they're bad guys or clowns.

Maybe this is because, back in the day, we used to be entertained by acts of actual violence—throwing garbage at people in the stockades or mocking criminals who were about to be publicly executed. Now, instead of engaging in this less civilized behavior, we displace the impulse and get it through movies.

Plus, wouldn't life be overly depressing if we didn't laugh at some of the misery?

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