Home Alone analysis

Yes. (At least his personal problems; he’d still have to defend the house etc.)

Jim, I don’t want to be a roadblock here … and I can see the view you and @jhay are espousing, with Kevin as a Changed main character. To do so I have to shift my thinking about the narrative, and look at Kevin’s “little kid who’s seen as incompetent” issues as just a piece of a bigger personal issue, that of hating his family. Almost like they’re the reasoning behind (or justification for) his personal issues, rather than the issues themselves.

There are still some things that confuse me in that shifted view (esp. IC throughline and IC resolve), but I’d be interested in exploring it further. So if you don’t think there’s any more to be gained by use each advocating different MC Resolves, I’m happy to step back and explore the storyform further with Kevin as Changed MC.

(My biggest curiosity is around Marley – I definitely agree about the You and I and same abandonment issues, but to me it seems like Marley was influenced by Kevin to take a different path.)

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The thing with Kevin is that he wants everyone to treat him like an adult—and he wants everyone to know it. At the end, he’s asked what happened, and he answers, “oh, you know, stuff.”

Now he is thinking like an adult. Not needing validation anymore. He just takes care of business and doesn’t care what people think of him.

In the beginning, “Everyone hates me”—and they do. They actually hate him and don’t waste anytime telling him. But he takes it farther—he wants them all dead and gone. He’s being “childish” about it.

The reason why it feels like Marley and Mom “change” is because you’re looking at problematic attitudes. They used to hate him—now they think he’s cool.

Resolution is a change of attitude—not shooting a laser missile into an exhaust pipe. So that change of attitude feels like a subjective change—when really it’s an objective look at how a change of mind can “fix” things.

Marley still believes what he tells Kevin in the church—there’s just been a change in attitude that resolves his relationship with his son. Subjectively—what he told Kevin still applies.

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Okay, this makes a lot of sense to me. Thanks for communicating it so clearly.

Darn, I feel like I need to watch this movie again now. It’s always felt a lot like Star Wars to me, but now you’re giving good reasons why it may actually be more like Zootopia (I know Zootopia has MC Physics, but I actually have not seen a single analysed film that has OS Mind, MC Psychology!).

Come to think of it, in your mentorship program I never got to the OS Mind assignments section. So having less experience there might be biting me.

I had thought Kevin’s going from “everyone hates me” to “I wish them gone” was actually the influence of the mother, making him react like an impulsive child (IC Concern: Preconscious). There was something that bugged me about that though, something not quite IC-like, but I thought it was just because it’s only a 100-minute film so maybe something was missing.

Wondering if @jhay or @Gregolas have any thoughts at this point? I think Jay was hoping you’d offer ideas on the OS Concern & Goal… Unless you’d rather one of us take a shot at that? Is it something like “everyone needs to be more considerate” (Conscious)?


Zootopia is a great example. Marley’s “change” is a lot like Nick’s “change” to a cop.

And I really like the Goal encoding—Everyone ends up more considerate—all across the board.

The boogeyman next door genre was my first clue. Marley felt a lot like Boo Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird. Everyone bring a jerk to everyone else was my second lol.


Funny how the phrasing can really make a difference. When you earlier said everyone was a being an a–hole / jerk, that meant nothing to me, like background noise. Maybe I have a blind spot there, growing up with 4 siblings and probably being the jerk myself sometimes? But needing to be more considerate – suddenly I can see how that fits the cops hardly bothering to check the house “tell them to count their kids again”, the airline staff and other passengers who won’t help (at least until they get every last bit of jewelry), the bandits leaving the water on, etc.

It’s weird, I haven’t totally given up on the previous storyform we had yet, like I can still see both working. But I’m willing to admit it’s probably due to a blind spot of mine. It might be a danger of writers doing analyses – faced with a blind spot, we make up a different but still-valid narrative that matches on the surface. Like I (along with Jay & Greg) told myself a story that wasn’t actually Home Alone, but fit a lot of the surface “stuff” in Home Alone.
(Perhaps the same thing has happened before with a talented novelist and a superhero movie? If so, I’m in good company… :slight_smile: )

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Oh, and I also think it’s a Decision Story :slight_smile:

Actually that doesn’t surprise me. When I tried really hard earlier to picture your OS Mind, MC Psychology narrative ideas, the only way I could do it was to shift the story drivers!

Yeah, isn’t it:

  • I wish you all were dead (gets banished to room)
  • local authorities dismiss panic call
  • waiting for someone to give up their tickets (no takers)
  • polka guy offers a seat in his van
  • Kevin decides he wants his family back
  • burglars choose Kevin’s house “this is the one”
  • everyone decides Kevin is ok
  • Kevin decides not to tell anyone what happened

I’m sure I missed one or overinflated a couple but it does feel like a Decision Story with a Willing Be-er in the driver seat.

All the fun Macaulay Culkin stuff is Be-er stuff, the pretending to be a mobster, pretending to be an adult in the checkout line, being or acting like an adult.

Also I think this is a case of a Changed character whose Resolve changes gradually over time, not a Leap of Faith kinda thing. Once he meets drunk Santa he basically has already made up his mind (before the OS is done).

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I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t get to really participate in the discussion above, as I would have loved to help in an analysis. (I didn’t have time to watch until tonight.) I wanted to add, though, that the quote below is exactly what I was thinking and feeling when I was watching it tonight.

However, I disagree with when he has completely made up his mind. I felt like he was still wavering, be it ever so slightly, with drunk Santa, and the final part of the change manifested in the church while talking with Marley.

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The only problem is, isn’t the storm and the power going out an important event that turns the plot? Was there any decision shown that would leave them especially open to sleeping in? (I don’t recall one)

Or are we saying author’s intent is that Kevin’s decision to wish everyone away actually did cause (force) that power outage?


That’s definitely cleared things up for me, Jim. I always struggle to envision internal OS domains in movies, so a tangible goal makes it a little clearer for me.

As for the Decision driver, I could go Action OR Decision, but there’s no doubt in my mind that Kevin is 100% willing throughout. So if he’s a Be-er, as Jim has convinced me he is, it has to be Decision.

I watched it again on Christmas Day, but still struggled with seeing it as a Mind OS. However, I may revisit it with the new knowledge of this goal and try to see it from a new perspective.

Finally went back to read what I said in the other thread last year. Seems like I kept trying to talk myself out of arguing for Kevin in Psychology and the OS in Mind.

Should’ve stuck with that! Oh well, guess we’ll have to come back to this one again next year after all.

Looking at it as a decision story, I’m thinking the decision to stick Kevin in the attic led to the action of forgetting to take him along rather than causing the storm.


Remind us a few weeks ahead of time, in case we want to rewatch the film. I know I’ll want to.

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Never thought I’d see this film up there:

Thanks for the motivation.

Happy New Year!


Hey @jhull , sorry to resurrect this, but I was just wondering, what were you thinking the First Story Driver of Home Alone is?

It would have to be something that creates the need for the “everyone needs to be more considerate” Goal in order to resolve the story’s problems. I’m not sure Kevin’s wish fits because people being inconsiderate of each other was causing plenty of conflict prior to that.

I wonder if it’s simply “deciding to go to Paris for the holidays”. That decision’s not shown on-screen but it’s referred to plenty, esp. when Kate (Kevin’s mom) tells Harry why they’re going.

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PS For a fab OS mind & MC psychology, check out Lone Star.

Just rewatched it. Pretty sure the first driver is the decision to banish Kevin up to the attic alone, rather than with Fuller (same scene as he says “I wish you were all dead”). It could be the going to Paris, but the story wouldn’t happen as it does if Fuller were with him (as initially intended), which leads me to think it’s that solitary banishment that kicks everything off.

Here’s where I think the drivers lie:

  • Kate banishes Kevin to the attic alone.
  • The Bandits select Kevin’s house as ‘the one’.
  • Gus Polinski decides to offer Kate a ride.
  • The Bandits decide to hit Kevin’s house, regardless.
  • Kevin decides not to tell anyone what happened.

Interesting, Jay. It seems to me that the story’s problems (everyone being inconsiderate and criticising) began before that decision though? But maybe it was a “balanced” inequity that only seems unbalanced, because it’s so clear that everything is about to fall apart (esp. looking at it from Kevin’s perspective).


It’s really hard to locate, honestly. There were three or four candidates for that first driver that happened within ten minutes (the Paris trip/Kevin deciding he wants his family gone/deciding to leave him alone in the attic). It all depends on what you think the core ‘idea’ of the story is because any of them could work.

Everyone is criticising from the get-go, but it’s also pretty clear that this has been going on long before the Paris trip was decided upon (the kids don’t want to share a bed with Fuller/Buzz is criticising and mocking Kevin, etc.), which leads me to believe the actual ‘inequity’ doesn’t begin until Kevin is left alone in the attic (which fits, given the OS is labeled as “An 8 Year Old Alone on Christmas”).

Watching it in the context of a Mind story, it feels really weird, generally. Certain parts of it feel totally right (the ‘you and I’ moment lines up perfectly with IC Understanding – Marley helping Kevin understand who he is, and influencing Kevin to understand what he needs to do – and RS Present – both of them connecting over their current family separation), but others feel really, really off (OS Signpost 4 of Memory is really light because 90% of the act is taken up with the Rube Goldberg house slapstick, except for one, maybe two scenes).

I’m still not 100% onboard with it being in Mind, but I’m remaining open-minded on that until I’m more well-versed in Mind stories.