“Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” Review: A Cinematic Charmer!

For the past couple of years it has become evident that films intended for younger audiences are not like they used to be. No, this is not a critic reminiscing about “the good old days” but the quality and expectations put on young viewers in film today is astronomically low. The entertainment seems to be in place as a distraction rather than content to internalize and enjoy at the same time. It has been a wonder when and if films will begin to expect more of its young audiences and give them the credit they deserve.

Diving back to 1970 when Judy Blume published her bestselling book Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, sixty three years later, the book has been adapted to film starring Abby Ryder Fortson (Margaret Simon), Rachel McAdams (Barbara Simon), Kathy Bates (Silvia Simons), and Benny Safdie (Herb Simon). The end result is a triumphant film about family, identity, growing up, and the beauty of womanhood.

Margaret Simon is an eleven year old girl whose family moves from New York to the New Jersey suburbs as she starts the sixth grade. Not only enduring the difficulty of moving to a new town but Margaret must navigate one of the most defining moments in her life: puberty. What appears to be a coming of age film about young girls quickly becomes a layered story of faith, religion, and identity beautifully crafted by director and screenwriter Kelly Fremon Craig.

The film explores not only the difficulties of being a young girl but the beauties in these obstacles that make being a woman so incredible. Craig is able to capture this balance incredibly in a universal way. However, the film is also very personal for Margaret and allows her to shine for her individuality rather than just for her similarities to all of us.

The realism in the film is undeniable. It is the most accurate representation of pre-teen girls going through the awkward and wonderful stages of life seen on film. Mixed with the comedy that is light-hearted, it leaves room for the dramatic scenes to elevate the entire script in a way that mirrors nostalgia of being that age while also being wildly relevant to girls today. Abby Ryder Fortson as Margaret is joyous and all of the young actors in the film are so pleasant to watch.

Rachel McAdams glows on screen and the development of her character elevates the script showing that just because you are growing up and getting older does not make life any simpler. Craig writes Barbara’s storyline to depict a mother struggling with her own set of issues as a passionate artist, mother, and estranged daughter to her parents. Here, the film is able to dive into family through Margaret and Barbara’s perspective as two women finding their own identities no matter the age.

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret is a cinematic charmer written with immense talent by Kelly Fremon Craig. It is a universal film for every audience member and remains one of the best films this year so far.

‘It’s Me, Margaret’ Rating – 4.5/5

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Stephanie Young

Stephanie Young

Stephanie is a huge film fanatic, a librarian, and a baker! And when she isn't busy doing these activities, she is running around with her Australian Cattle Dog!

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