It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
She lives in a grim world for such a plucky little girl. Her mother died two days after she was born. Her father runs a funeral home. The embalming takes place in the basement. Her grandmother has Alzheimer's and is wrapped in a deep silence, except for the times when she starts singing the hit songs of 40 years ago.
No wonder Vada is a hypochondriac who is always running off to the family doctor.
And yet in other ways Vada is fairly normal. She has a crush on the teacher who lives down the street. She goes biking with her best pal, Thomas J., and they talk about the meaning of life. She adores her dad, who is sort of distant, and she gets a little jealous when dad hires a new cosmetologist and then it looks as if he might begetting married again.
"My Girl" is the second recent film about young people learning the realities of life. Like "Man in the Moon," it is about young romance, innocence, tragedy, and growth. The characters in "My Girl" are a few crucial years younger than those in "Man in the Moon" - Vada is 11 and just this side of the great divide of adolescence - but both movies feature a swimming hole, and a first kiss, and a father who is strict but loving. And the key to both movies is in affecting, genuine performances.