ByKarly Rayner, writer at
Movie Pilot's celebrity savant
Karly Rayner

Sure, the thing we all remember most fondly about is a hapless burglar being sadistically maimed with a hot iron, but the real message of the Christmas classic is one of love and tolerance among the Abu Ghraib level of torture.

Of course, the relationship I'm talking about is the one which develops between a lonely Kevin and Old Man Marley because, let's face it, his neglectful family should probably be at some sort of Child Services tribunal, no matter how much they tearfully apologize.

We all know that Kevin was forced to reexamine his skewed ideas of Old Man Marley's murderous ways and — in the true spirit of — truly see the misunderstood kindly, family-man who was hidden in plain sight, but there may have been other visual metaphors at play to show this healing relationship.

An unlikely savior [Credit: 20th Century Fox]
An unlikely savior [Credit: 20th Century Fox]

Namely, Marley's bloodied hand, which is the focus of many shots, and seems to symbolize the way Kevin helps to heal the troubled man's relationship with his previously estranged son.

Below is a breakdown of Redditor SkiingHard's beautiful theory with some of the shots in question that symbolically show Old Man Marley's healing through his wounded hand:

A Wounded Soul

One of the first times we see Old Man Marley, his hand is prominently slammed onto the counter to show it is bloody and injured in a way that unnerves young Kevin. In the same way, Marley's internal sadness about his estranged son has probably pushed other adults in his life away because they didn't know how to handle his deep feelings of grief.

The Healing Power Of Innocent Honesty

As Old Man Marley speaks to Kevin about his family problems, the young boys innocent attitude helps him to think of these age-old issues with a new perspective. By shaking off the small fears that have prevented him from making a big wrong a right, Marley is once more symbolically healed. Although sadly this clip doesn't show the scene, there is a deliberate focus on Marley's hand during a handshake which shows his once painful looking wound has been covered with a small band-aid.

An Old Wound Becomes Healed

Old Man Marley's old wound is totally healed [Credit: 20th Century Fox]
Old Man Marley's old wound is totally healed [Credit: 20th Century Fox]

After he finally heals the rift with his family that he's been too afraid to face for years, Old Man Marley's totally healed hand is prominently shown as he waves to Kevin. The hatchet has finally been buried and Marley has healed as a result.

In short, the wound on Old Man Marley's hand is a physical representation of his relationship with his son.

Do you think Old Man Marley's wound symbolizes his healing journey?

(Source: Reddit)


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