Growing up in the 90s means I got to experience some of the best movies ever made straight from the box office. I was spoiled for choice and spent many Friday evenings picking out exactly what I wanted to watch that weekend. Immersing myself in this sometimes fictional world, life was perfect.
That was until I watched My Girl. Now don’t get me wrong – the movie was pretty great. A string of great actors and a script that was so well written I could find no flaw. I’m not the only one to say this, but the 1991 film left me scarred, and I just cannot shake the tragedy that unfolded in the film – a film at the time deemed suitable for children.
If you’ve watched the movie, you’ll know exactly what scene I am referring to
Thomas J., played by Macaulay Culkin, meets a tragic end when he’s stung to death by bees. Not only does he leave a family devastated, but he also leaves his best friend grieving. Vada, played by Anna Chlumsky, has to say goodbye to her best friend, not really grasping the concept of death quite yet.
Death can be hard to explain to children in a 90s movie
“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.” Says Kelly Schremph.
“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.” She continues.
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Thomas doesn’t die on screen, but the emotion sticks with you
The movie isn’t violent or graphic or anything like that. We don’t even actually see Thomas die, but the 90s movie can cause emotional strain on someone not quite mature enough to actually understand the concept. The loss of a child is something else. Adults died all the time on screen – especially in action films. You know, those cringe 90s movies where explosions go off all around the main character and they manage to take out 20 people at once without a scratch.
It remains your choice, but you now at least have another perspective
Every single parent has the right to decide what goes when it comes t their children and that’s totally ok. Who am I to judge when I saw the film as a kid, along with IT, Nightmare on Elm Street, and a host of other actually scary 90s movies? I have made peace with bees since and actually invite them into my garden, but I never forget.
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