As a sixth-grader, I was a huge reader of books. I was (and still remain) a big fan of Judy Blume’s books. So when I found out that “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” was being adapted into a film, I had high expectations. Having grown up in the ‘80s, I remember reading the book (several times in fact) and it holds a special place in my heart.
Last week, I was invited to screen the movie in LA and I’m happy to say that it exceeded my expectations!
In fact, I’d go as far as to say that this is my favorite movie of the year! I really loved the movie. There is humor, nostalgia (I’m a Gen Xer) and some poignant moments that got me teary-eyed.
For those who didn’t read the book and are not familiar with the source material, here is a quick summary of the movie.
For over fifty years, Judy Blume’s classic and groundbreaking novel Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. has impacted generations with its timeless coming-of-age story, insightful humor, and candid exploration of life’s biggest questions. In Lionsgate’s big-screen adaptation, 11-year-old Margaret (Abby Ryder Fortson) is uprooted from her life in New York City for the suburbs of New Jersey, going through the messy and tumultuous throes of puberty with new friends in a new school. She relies on her mother, Barbara (Rachel McAdams), who is also struggling to adjust to life outside the big city, and her adoring grandmother, Sylvia (Kathy Bates), who isn’t happy they moved away and likes to remind them every chance she gets. The film also stars Benny Safdie (Licorice Pizza, Good Time) and is written for the screen and directed by Kelly Fremon Craig (The Edge of Seventeen), based on the book by Judy Blume, and produced by Gracie Films’ Academy Award® winner James L. Brooks (Best Picture, 1983 – Terms of Endearment), alongside Julie Ansell, Richard Sakai, Kelly Fremon Craig, Judy Blume, Amy Lorraine Brooks, Aldric La’auli Porter, and executive produced by Jonathan McCoy.
As a mom, I related to Barbara Simon, Rachel McAdams’ character. The scenes where Barbara is desperate to fit in as she attends the PTA meetings had me chuckling. Believe me, every Parent Teacher Association has a Mrs. Jan Wheeler (played by Kate MacCluggage) and every school has a Nancy Wheeler (played by Elle Graham).
Abby Ryder Fortson is pitch-perfect in the titular role of Margaret Simon. Her performance instantly brought me back to those bittersweet sixth-grade years filled with angsty moments regarding changing bodies, first crushes and changing friendships.
During last week’s screening, Abby described how she relates to the character as well. Check it out!
Rounding out the cast is Benny Safdie who plays Dad (Herb Simon) and Kathy Bates steals almost every scene that she is in as Margaret’s grandmother (Sylvia Simon).
The film touches on Margaret’s exploration of various religions. Her dad and grandmother are Jewish and her mom was raised as a Christian. At one point, the three grandparents meet, and things don’t go as planned.
The writer-director, Kelly Fremon Craig, packs the film with ‘70s musical references, great costume choices and period piece furniture. I was a toddler during that era and I recognize the clothing and home interiors from family pictures.
This is a multi-generational film. I encourage you to take your mom, your kids (note the rating) and even your grandmother. Someone recently asked me if this would be appropriate for children under 13. The movie is rated PG-13 and all I can say is, you know your kids best. There’s talk in the movie about periods, puberty and at one point the characters go bra shopping (nothing is shown). It’s handled with humor and refreshing frankness. I’d say if you’re not ready to have that talk with your young kids, then maybe don’t take them. However, if you want to use the movie as a springboard to have those conversations (should questions arise after the movie), then go see it!
“Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” opens in theaters on Friday, April 28th.
“Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” is rated PG-13.
Visit the official movie website here for more information.
Disclosure: No monetary compensation was received for this post. I attended an advanced screening of the movie which helped facilitate this review. Images shown in this post are used with permission. As always, my opinions are 100% my own.