Home Alone is one of those movies that presents a conflict that would be so easily resolved in the real world. In the world of Kevin McCallister, however, people don’t pick up the phone and the McCallisters apparently have NO ONE who can check on them. Writer John Hughes does a pretty good job, however, of making sure all easy resolutions are ruled out. Here’s a breakdown of how Kevin gets stuck “home alone.”
2. The McCallisters are traveling to Paris tomorrow. Kevin’s aunt, uncle, and cousin Fuller are joining them, so extra beds are needed. Kevin is asked to sleep with Fuller in the attic.
This will put him far away from his family later.
3. Kevin is asked to pack his suitcase and presumably does not do so because he doesn’t know how.
(This detail can be appreciated later.)
4. After Kevin shoves his older brother, Buzz, Kevin’s dad cleans up the mess he’s made, accidentally throwing out Kevin’s plane ticket.
This is actually a crucial moment that most people never notice.
5. Kevin is punished and sent to bed in the attic. Fuller won’t join Kevin, leaving Kevin alone for the night.
6. During the night, heavy winds cause a branch to break, taking down a power line with it, cutting power to the house.
7. As a result of the power outage, the alarm clocks do not go off in the morning and the McAllisters are completely crazed in an attempt to make their flight.
8. In the head count, the nosy kid across the street is mistaken for Kevin, so it appears everyone is accounted for.
There is also, presumably, not an extra piece of luggage that might alert the family to Kevin’s absence once they’re at the airport. Remember, Kevin was having issues with packing the night before.
9. The phones are of course out and cannot be repaired for several days.
Thereby removing any direct contact with Kevin.
10. The McCallisters just make their flight. The gate attendant tells the group to take whatever seats are left in coach.
The attendant would also have the correct number of tickets for the group because Kevin’s was thrown out. The “single seats” scenario means that the kids aren’t all sitting together, making Kevin’s absence even easier to miss.
11. The grown-ups are in first class, so they’re not monitoring the kids.
Were they all in coach, perhaps an adult would realize Kevin was missing.
12. Kevin actually believes he has magically made his family disappear, so he has no cause to seek help.
Kevin comes to this conclusion when he sees both family cars still in the driveway. At no time is it mentioned that vans would be taking the group to the airport. All we hear is that they are planning to leave at 8 a.m. Perhaps Kevin assumed they’d be driving their own cars.
13. Failed contact attempt #1: The captain gets someone on the ground to call the McCallister home. The phones are still out.
14. Failed contact attempt #2: Having landed in France, Kevin’s mom instructs some of the kids to call everyone they know. They can’t get ahold of anyone.
15. Failed contact attempt #3: They try to contact a neighbor, but no one picks up.
16. In fact…somehow ALL the neighbors have left for the holidays.
(This moment comes slightly earlier, but offers an explanation as to why a neighbor couldn’t help out even if Mrs. McAllister could get one on the phone.)
17. Failed contact attempt #4: Kevin’s mom gets through to the police, who agree to dispatch an officer over to the house…
18. However, Kevin doesn’t answer the door when the policeman knocks. Kevin has just seen the robbers and is terrified.
20. Failed contact attempt #5: Once in Paris, Kevin’s dad makes more calls, and still comes up with nothing.
Further complications come from operators who are speaking in a foreign language. It’s unclear who he’s talking about — “they’re all shopping” — could be co-workers who left work early to do holiday shopping.
21. Kevin’s mom is able to barter her way on a flight…but it doesn’t get her back to Chicago. She instead gets to Scranton (via Dallas), and of course cannot get another flight.
22. Kevin’s mom decides to get a lift with John Candy’s polka band, buying more time to leave Kevin at home.
23. The final resolution, two whole days later — Kevin’s mom makes it back. (And of course the rest of the family managed to get on a flight that got them home at the same time.)
24. All of these complications and obstacles then made it possible for Kevin to have a crazy adventure over the course of a couple days.
So there you have it. A family of a billion can’t make a phone call and Kevin manages to accomplish tons of things. Including putting bad guys and jail and getting groceries. Well done, young man.