I've always been a big movie buff. Whether it was going to see something new playing in the theaters or watching an old favorite for the thousandth time from the comfort of the couch, I've loved immersing myself in fantastical, fictional worlds. And as a kid growing up in the '90s, there was a vast array of high-quality content to explore within the wonderful world of cinema. Yet while I have many, many favorites from that era, there is one '90s kids' movie that left me emotionally scarred. I'm referring to the classic children's movie My Girl, which came out back in 1991.
Not to be too dramatic or anything, but this film pretty much traumatized me for life. Not because it wasn't good — because it was. The cast was great, the scenes were memorable (not surprising, though, since most took place at a funeral home), and the characters were, all-in-all, pretty darn likable. So, what was the problem, you may ask? As I'm sure most of you who have seen the movie can probably guess, it involves the tragic twist that takes place at the very end.
The Most Heartbreaking Scene Ever
Macaulay Culkin's character, Thomas J., gets stung to death by bees, leaving his best friend Vada (Anna Chlumsky) completely devastated, much like the rest of the audience. It's a heart-wrenching moment that you probably remember watching for the first time during your own childhood. But while I can't argue that the film is well done, it's also my hope that my own child won't end up watching it — at least, not for a very, very, very long time.
More Than the Death Factor
Don't get me wrong; I realize that death is a painful yet unavoidable topic many childhood movies have covered over the years. Bambi, The Lion King, Up, and even The Land Before Time all explore the sadness and grief that comes with losing a loved one. I get it. It's important for a kid to learn about death and loss, especially since ignoring it won't prevent it from happening. So why, then, do I seem to have it out for My Girl? To be honest, the death-centric storyline hits a bit differently here because it's the death of a child, which is arguably one of the saddest things in the world to think about, regardless of how or why it happened. It's also most likely what earned it a spot in Time magazine's Top 10 Saddest Kids Movies.
We don't even see Thomas J. die onscreen, so it's not about the moment being too graphic or violent or anything like that. It's more about the emotional impact it could have on someone before they're fully ready to handle it. I remember what struck me most while watching it was that Thomas J. was my age, and he died. I had seen adult-like figures die onscreen before, but someone like me who had barely had a chance to live? That struck me with a fear I'd never experienced before because I didn't even know that was something to be scared about.
To Each Their Own (But Hard Pass Here)
Of course, it's definitely worth noting every parent has the right to decide what they think their child should or shouldn't watch. That means I hold absolutely no judgment against anyone who does want their kid to see this film. Heck, I saw it at a young age, and I don't judge my parents one bit for letting me — even if it did make bees my sworn enemies for life. But with all the great options out there these days, I would simply prefer to postpone (or altogether skip) my own child watching it for as long as humanly possible.