Are you there, God? It’s me, Margaret: Sure to become a TIMELESS CLASSIC

Adapting beloved books to the screen can daunt many. While there are some apparent successes, few please all of the people all of the time. Are you there, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume has touched the lives of many young girls since its first edition in the 1970s. Blume’s novel is one of the most iconic coming-of-age stories of all time, a classic that treats menstruation and religion with the same gravity as awkward first kisses and forging friendships. Writer/director Kelly Fremon Craig has adapted Blume’s book to perfection – giving it all the affection it deserves on the page and the screen.

Margaret Simon (Abby Ryder Fortson) faces her looming middle school years with a surprise move to New Jersey from Manhattan. Her mom (Rachel McAdams), an art teacher, can stay home more, and her dad (Benny Safdie) got a big promotion. Still, Margaret finds the move unnerving, and why not? She also faces all the angst and issues that come with being 11, almost 12, and a girl going into middle school. Her grandmother (Kathy Bates) stays in NYC, and Margaret looks to her for balance. When her teacher recommends a study of religion as the topic of her year-long research project, Margaret, already struggling with new friends and becoming “a woman,” sets out on a journey to find her way in these unfamiliar realms.

Fortson embodies the Margaret I remember from reading the book so many years ago. I attended the screening with my recently turned 12-year-old granddaughter, and I was about that age when I first read Blume’s novel. Demonstrating the book’s timelessness, Craig’s telling touches on all the same subjects, including the highs, the lows, the fears, and the tears involved with being a middle schooler. Margaret, and all in her universe, are relatable and engaging human beings, even Nancy – the wild and free friend. McAdams and Bates are perfection, as is Safdie. Margaret could not be more loved by these characters, and the ensemble delights.

Craig stays true to Blume’s vision, and while it’s been 50-plus years since the novel launched, she wisely keeps its 1970 setting. She packs her film with era-appropriate details, costume choices, and designs and nods to a simpler, more innocent time. For me, it was a blast to the past and a reminder of what has changed since my youth and, most importantly, what will never change about being a tween girl, regardless of the timeframe. I am placing five stars at the top. It is a delightful, delightful film. Parents everywhere should take their tweens to see it. My granddaughter LOVE it!

Leave a comment