Who would expect two warm, pleasant films in one year that deal with a summer in the life of kids. Paradise, which was released earlier in the year and now My Girl. Each deals with the difficulty of accepting death, not in a morbid way, but as a fact of life which must be faced. The difference in My Girl is a delightful young actress, Anna Chlumsky, who plays Vada Sultenfuss. She is the star of the film and has the responsibility of carrying the entire production. She is great.
Set in 1972 and laced with the music of the time, Vada and her best friend Thomas J. (Macaulay Culkin) spend their summer riding bikes, swimming, walking and running in the woods, and hanging around. Vada also takes a creative writing course for adults taught by her favorite teacher.
During this unique summer she must also accept her father (Dan Aykroyd) falling in love with Shelly Devoto (Jamie Lee Curtis), openly accept the death of her mother whom she never knew, realized that the teacher she has a crush on is about to marry and the loss of her best friend. This all sounds very heavy, but director Howard Zieff presents Vada and the people around her and their average life with joy and humor and he guides Vada through her summer of change without forcing phony tears and contrived situations. The characters are presented and they live through the summer as most average people do' they are much like neighbors rather than performers.
My Girl, will bring a few tears, and many laughs. We could use more films like this about people and their kids. This is a joyful celebration of the life of a family.