The Story Line.
Kevin McAllister, a 10 year-old kid, along with his parents, siblings, cousins, aunt and uncle, head for the airport to board a plane for Florida. It’s Christmas vacation time. Kevin mistakenly gets on the wrong plane. His family goes to Florida; Kevin goes to New York City.
In the meantime Harry and Marv, the Wet Bandits, have escaped from prison and also end up in New York. They’ve been involved with the McAllister family before so when they pass Kevin walking on 5th Avenue, they decide to “get him.” From then until the end of the movie there are high jinks galore.
Among other shenanigans, Kevin learns of the bandit’s plan to rob Mr. Duncan’s toy store after it closes that night, Christmas Eve. After a lot of “close calls” Kevin manages to foil the robbers, his family comes to New York to get him and all ends happily on Christmas Eve night. And, yes, Christmas Day is all it should be: just wonderful.
A Deeper Look.
Kevin doesn’t seem to “fit in” well in his family. There are several reasons why.
- Kevin has an older brother who Is manipulative. He makes fun of Kevin, sets him up to fail, and then lies about it. Unfortunately, Kevin’s mom and dad believe the older brother; they send Kevin to his room a lot.
- Kevin observes his brother and uncle well, can see their weaknesses and doesn’t mind telling the truth about them in front of everyone. His parents, of course, are embarrassed by Kevin’s behavior and try to control him out of it. But no, Kevin continues to stand up for himself and speak out. So, he’s the designated Black Sheep of the family.
On the plus side, Kevin manages to handle his crises pretty well. Why? Kevin has high self-esteem. Here’s how we know.
- He thinks. (It may sound silly to mention this but, if you’ll observe others around you, you’ll see that not everyone has that skill.) He really thinks; you can see it on his face.
- He observes and plans. Very seldom does Kevin REact to the situations he’s in; he proves that he’s a problem solver every time he’s in a crunch.
- He’s independent, imaginative and competent. And, he takes calculated risks. Witness the trials he puts “The Wet/Sticky Bandits” through.
- Kevin is a “feeling” kid who is drawn to emotionally “safe” relationships. Witness his talks with Mr. Duncan at the toy store and, of course, the talks with the Pigeon Lady.
- Yes, he’s a strong thinker but he has a BIG heart as well. Here are two good examples:
- When he visits Duncan’s Toy Store he learns of Mr. Duncan’s plan to give the profits from that day’s sales to the St. Anne’s Children’s Hospital. He compliments Mr. Duncan for his generosity to the kids. And later, when he finds out that the Wet Bandits are planning to rob Mr. Duncan’s store, he trips them up, they get nothing and, instead, land in jail. So, even though he’s in danger with the bandits, he does the “right thing.” Kevin has a sweet heart.
- The other time we see his tenderness and caring is in his last two encounters with The Pigeon Lady.
After the Pigeon Lady helps Kevin out of a difficult situation in Central Park, he is no longer afraid of her. Kevin trusts her enough to ask two questions. And, these questions tell us a lot about how his family views him, and unfortunately, how he views himself: (1) Am I bothering you? And (2) Am I being a pain in the butt now? The Pigeon Lady answers, “No,” quietly but with a lot of reassurance in her voice. Kevin suggests hot chocolate as a treat for them. She agrees.
So, they go to the instrument room of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra (a great scene if you like instruments) and talk. The Pigeon Lady reveals that long ago she had her heart broken and no longer trusts people. She’s withdrawn from the world. And so, for some time she has made her home in Central Park with the pigeons.
But, Kevin says she should risk again because if she tried, things might work out.
He’s very encouraging. He tells her that when he was younger he had a pair of roller skates that he tried on a few times in his room but never really used them. He was afraid to actually skate in them. By the time he decided to use them, he had outgrown them. He suggests that if she doesn’t use her heart now, later it won’t work for her. *** (There’s a lot of wisdom in this idea for all of us.)
The Pigeon Lady counters Kevin’s remarks with the question: “But, what if I get hurt again?” Kevin says that she can count on him to “remember her.” Her response? “Don’t make promises you can’t keep, Kevin.” Clearly, she doubts him; she’s still much too afraid to truly trust.
But, at the very end of the movie, Kevin leaves his family’s Christmas celebration to go visit the Pigeon Lady. He has a gift for her: a white turtledove ornament. Mr. Duncan, the toy store owner, had given him two of these ornaments earlier. Mr. Duncan told him that if he gave one away and kept one, Kevin and whomever he gave the other turtledove to, would forever be friends. Kevin’s message to the Pigeon Lady is that he will not “forget” her; he’ll always remember her. All ends well with the movie.
This is such a feel-good movie: lots of humor but some real depth, too. Just the right combination for the holiday season. If you haven’t yet seen Home Alone Two – Lost in New York, you might give it a try.
And: I hope you and yours have a very enjoyable and peaceful holiday season!
My warmest wishes until next time,
Thanks so much for reading and if you think anyone else would enjoy this, please pass it on.