Is 'Home Alone' Secretly All About Religion?
When it comes to Christmastime activities, we tend to think of watching Home Alone as one of the more secular options, seeing as it has less to do with the celebration of the birth of Christ and more to do with the pleasures of devouring cheese pizza and brutalizing home invaders. Upon closer examination, though, the wacky '90s blockbuster might actually be all about religion. Yup, it turns out Home Alone arguably tricked generations of children into enjoying a deeply religious allegory like a friggin' Narnia book.
The key to all this is the character of "Old Man" Marley, Kevin's neighbor who, as he is told by Buzz, was supposedly a serial killer called the "South Bend Shovel Slayer." Instead of simply starting a true-crime podcast to investigate/exploit these alleged killings, Kevin spends most of the movie staying the hell away from Marley. Then, when he encounters Marley at a drugstore, we get a conspicuous shot of Marley's bloody hand, which has seemingly been completely pierced somehow.
By the end of the movie, which is like a day or two later, his hands are magically healed. Yes, Kevin's neighbor has stigmata. Merry Christmas.
Obviously, this is a pretty loaded image to throw into a Christmas movie and has been the subject of much discussion online, even prompting some people to wonder if Marley is literally supposed to be Jesus.
We would argue, though, that Marley, more broadly, represents Christianity. Pointedly, Kevin first comes to understand the truth about Marley in church while a choir sings "O Holy Night."
And before that, the same church offered some kind of supernatural sanctuary to Kevin from the Wet Bandits, who, for some reason, were compelled not to enter.
When Kevin gets freaked out by Marley in the drugstore, he runs away and, in doing so, inadvertently commits a sin by stealing a toothbrush. And, as YouTuber The Reformed Pubcast points out, the movie ends with Kevin being literally saved by this Christlike figure after praying for the first time. So if we accept the premise that Marley equals Christianity, then perhaps the story is about how Kevin and his family have rejected God, and are using this holiest of holy days to go on vacation to a (gasp) foreign country, rather than observe Christmas through a more pious celebration at home.
We know that Kevin's parents have also turned their backs on Marley (who, again, is Christianity) because they never even considered contacting him after realizing that Kevin was left home alone. They claim to have unsuccessfully reached out to every single neighbor, but no one has any contact info for the old man who both lives right next door and almost certainly hasn't left town? Really?
So the next time a family member suggests going to church, please offer up this movie in which a small boy hurls paint cans at the star of Goodfellas as a viable alternative.
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Top Image: 20th Century Studios