Reviewed by: Tony John
Starring: Dan Aykroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis, Macaulay Culkin, Anna Chlumsky | Directed by: Howard Zieff | Produced by: Brian Grazer, Joseph M. Caracciolo, David T. Friendly | Written by: Laurice Elehwany | Distributor: Columbia
My Girl is a bittersweet, slice-of-life tale of Vada Sultenfuss, a precocious 11 year old girl struggling with issues of death, loss and friendship. Little wonder why. To begin with, Veda’s widowed father, Harry (Dan Aykroyd) runs a funeral home. Her mother died two days after her birth, for which she feels responsible. Veda wrestles for the attention of her father after Shelly DeVoto (Jamie Lee Curtis) is hired on as an assistant. Harry is caring, but rather aloof towards Veda. Her grandmother, who lives with them, is only half there. Therefore the only person Veda can confide with is her neighborhood friend, Thomas J. (Macaulay Culkin), whom she eventually loses as well.
There are only a couple of very mild profanities that you’d miss if you weren’t paying attention. Violence is non-existent although Harry sucker-punches Shelly’s jerky ex-husband when he rudely interrupts their 4th of July cookout. But the movie succeeds as Veda draws us into her life. She occasionally shares, by way of narration, her fears and worries with the audience alone. We care for Veda and want to help her deal with her burdens.
I had forgotten how much I love this film. Without going for belly laughs, “My Girl” is much too witty and charming to be a drama and too dramatic to be a comedy. This was released shortly after “Home Alone” and was marketed on the strength of Macaulay Culkin’s popularity at the time. Actually, Culkin’s role is only supportive and it seems he’s merely reciting lines. Clearly, it’s Anna Chlumsky’s movie. She carries the entire film with charm and professionalism way beyond her years. I would not be afraid to show this film to anyone. Above all, bring a hanky.