- Howard Zieff
- Reviewed by
- José Ruiloba a.k.a. Morris
- Review date
- Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Vada (Anna Chlumsky) is an 11-year-old girl who lost her mother at a young age and is now in love with one of her teachers, Mr. Bixler (Griffin Dunne). She lives with her father Harry (Dan Aykroyd), who runs a funeral parlor. Her life totally changes when she meets Thomas (Macaulay Culkin), a peculiar young boy with whom she forms a special friendship while her father starts dating a friendly woman, Shelly (Jamie Lee Curtis).
Howard Zieff directed from a beautiful screenplay by Laurice Elehwany. If there was one word to describe this movie it would be poignant. My Girl has a unique charm and atmosphere unlike anything I’d seen before or have seen since. It is a melancholic story about how sometimes life doesn’t give us what we want despite how hard we work for it. Vada, in true coming-of-age form, discovers this through her experiences and the relationships she forms with the different people who inhabit her world.
Because Vada lost her mother so soon she’s always been more mature than her age would indicate. She never ceases to say what she thinks, she has a sarcastic point of view about life despite being overly romantic and she’s obsessed with death. She is also a dreamer, but she slowly learns that real life is something else altogether and that she needs to move on. There’s particularly a third-act event that comes out of nowhere and which is shocking and unpredictable. From then on the movie is almost unbearable to watch, but Vada is such a wonderful girl that somehow there’s a sense of redemption to the procedures. I dare you not to shed a tear in that bedroom scene between her and her father.
Another wonderful scene has got Thomas and Vada sharing a very special moment in the place where they always meet. The scene is so effective that it definitely stands out from the rest; it certainly is the most magical moment in the movie.
Anna Chlumsky is so good it’s impressive to realize how young she was when she shot this; there’s not a glimpse of cutesy moments or a false move. She shows range and wisdom beyond her age, just as the character she’s playing. It is a truly magnetic performance. Macaulay Culkin is also extraordinary as the naive, innocent boy who has also had his share of trouble and whose sincerity ends up conquering Vada. The adult case, including Dan Aykroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis, Griffin Dunne and Ann Nelson are all solid.
Vada: “Dad, I don’t want to upset you, but my left breast is developing at a significantly faster rate than my right. It can only mean one thing. Cancer. I’m dying.”
Harry: “Okay, Sweetie, hand me the mayonnaise out of the fridge.”
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