Movie Review: My Girl (1991)

Starring: Anna Chlumsky, Macaulay Culkin and Dan Aykroyd

Directed by: Howard Zieff

A young girl on the brink of her teenage years spends her summer learning above love and loss as she finds that everything in her life is beginning to change.

Lately I’ve been watching quite a few coming of age movies where child actors have taken centre stage and given the platform to showcase their ability at such a young age. Today’s movie was My Girl which starred the incredible Macaulay Culkin and the lesser known Anna Chlumsky. At the time of this movie’s release Culkin was just coming off the back of the hugely successful and popular Home Alone and went onto star in the sequel the following year. In comparison this was Anna Chlumsky’s first major role and she played lead character Vada, who was the daughter of single father and mortician Harry Sultenfuss (Dan Aykroyd). Culkin played the role of Vada’s best friend Thomas J. and they would spend the entire summer doing everything together. During the course of the school break Vada had to learn a lot about herself and deal with a lot of changes in her life such as her father finally finding love after he was widowed shortly after Vada was born, learning to express her feelings towards her teacher who she had a crush on and dealing with the beginnings of puberty and the changes that that brings. The only constant in her life was her best friend Thomas J. but during the course of the summer that was all about to change.

I’ll be honest and admit that I didn’t really expect much from My Girl but I watched it because I wanted to see what else Macaulay Culkin managed to produce during his early days as outside of the Home Alone movies, Uncle Buck and The Pagemaster I haven’t seen him in anything else and for such a young actor he managed to feature in a lot of movies. Little did I realise that Anna Chlumsky was the star of this movie but what an absolutely fantastic performance from somebody who had little to no experience prior to being cast. She was sweet, charming, witty and was able to portray such a range of emotions that it was like watching a seasoned pro instead of a relative newcomer. I was not expecting to get an emotional reaction from this movie but it was so emotionally charged especially during the last 15 minutes or so that it caught me off guard slightly as it was also an ending that I didn’t see coming but the conclusion was so well written and disguised.

Macaulay Culkin was great in his role too and the two child actors were supported by two actors with vast experience in the shape of Dan Aykroyd and Jamie Lee Curtis. As mentioned Aykroyd played Vada’s father and Jamie Lee Curtis played his new found love Shelley. Initially their interactions were extremely awkward to watch and felt uncomfortable but that was by design to show how Aykroyd’s character struggled to go on his first date in twenty years as he felt out of touch. I didn’t quite understand the purpose of the gramoo character as she didn’t really add anything to the story as her character suffered from some form of dementia so she largely just sat in her chair and didn’t do anything at all. Other than that My Girl was a thoroughly enjoyable movie that showcased the talent of two wonderful young actors that shared great chemistry and the story was simple and easy to follow albeit sad and quite depressing towards the end.

Overall, My Girl was a great watch that I didn’t expect to be as good as it was and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to anybody.

8/10

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