ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT’S ME, MARGARET – A Review by Jenn Rohm
Kelly Fremon Craig has directed and written the screen version of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, based on the book of the same name by Judy Blume. Since its first printing in 1970, this book has been in continuous production. With the themes covered, the book has been banned from schools and libraries. It is also on lists of the best books for adults and kids to read.
Craig takes the audience back to 1970 with Margaret (Abby Ryder Fortson) at the age of 11 turning 12. Coming home from camp, Margaret learns she and her parents are moving from New York to New Jersey. Margaret is leaving behind the life she has always known and her beloved paternal Grandmother, Sylvia (Kathy Bates). Adding to her insecurity are the changes girls her age go through. When will they happen to her? What will she look like? What does it feel like? Why her and not me? Margaret reaches out to God starting her prayers with “Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret.”
Her Mother, Barbara (Rachel McAdams) was raised Christian and her Father, Herb (Benny Safdie) raised Jewish. They made the decision to let Margaret decide on religion for herself. A school project has Margaret beginning this journey and searching for what works for her.
This film version allows some insight into what Margaret’s Mother, Barbara, was going through with the move and finding her own happiness. There is a scene after a home-cooked meal with a family argument about religion. Margaret is hurt and storms out. While Herb is working to calm Barbara, she claims it to be her comment that hurt her daughter. The delivery by Rachel McAdams here was powerful. Watching the love of a mother for her child and wanting to protect them from all pain is something that has been in other movies. The performance got the desired emotional reaction from the audience. I admit it made me want to call my mom to thank her and tell her I love her. (I did wait until the movie was over to make the call.)
A good job was done in knowing it was 1970/71. This was not only done with costuming, music, and vehicles. It included the simplicity of playing in the sprinklers. Being at a party with all the food including gelatin. Furniture shopping and finding egg chairs. Cooking a TV dinner in a toaster oven and placed on a lap TV tray as opposed to at a table. A glance through a catalog when collecting the mail brought back memories of my childhood and yes, this brought me joy.
I believe this is a movie for Mothers and Daughters to see together if they can. It is also a good choice for a group of friends to see together and remember what that time in life was like. This is not to say that only females will enjoy this movie, just that the material presents the experience of puberty from a female perspective.
Director: Kelly Fremon Craig
Written By: Kelly Fremon Craig, Judy Blume
Cast: Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates, Abby Ryder Fortson
MPAA Rating: PG- 13: for thematic material involving sexual education and some suggestive material.
Genres: Comedy, Drama
Selig Rating: 5 stars
Runtime: 1h 45 m
Release Date: April 28, 2023
The Selig Rating Scale:
5 Stars – Excellent movie/show, well worth the time and price.
4 Stars – Good movie/show
3 Stars – OK movie/show
2 Stars – Well there was nothing else …
1 Star – Total waste of time.