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Are You There God?, it’s Me Margaret

average rating is 4 out of 5


Brian Penn


Posted on:

May 26, 2023

Film Reviews
Are You There God?, it’s Me Margaret
Directed by:
Kelly Fremon Craig
Written by:
Kelly Fremon Craig, Judy Blume
Abbey Rider Fortson, Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates

It’s easy to baulk at any film that is badged as a family drama and one that explores the angst of puberty can plunge even deeper into the depths of sentiment. However, the kitchen sink drama that feels made for television can occasionally flourish on the big screen. This new film directed by Kelly Fremon Craig gently tugs at the heartstrings but is never predictable with an original twist in a familiar storyline. The quirky title betrays its origins as a novel from the pen of children’s author Judy Blume.


Margaret Simon (Abbey Rider Fortson) is 12 years old and about to enter 6th grade. However her world is turned upside down when the family up sticks and move to New Jersey. This means a new school and new classmates. Margaret is quickly welcomed into a private club headed by Nancy, who to her horror is the owner of a 32A bra. The girls set each other a series of challenges including who will be the first to get a period.


The pressure cranks up even more for Margaret whose family is divided by religion. Her father Herb (Benny Safdie) is Jewish, and when he hooked up with Barbara (Rachel McAdams) it caused a deep rift in her devoutly Christian family. Margaret desperately clings to Jewish grandma Sylvia (Kathy Bates) for comfort, but is slowly being sucked into a domestic war. However, her teacher Mr Benedict makes a suggestion, write a project about religion and what it means to her.


This is a deeply pleasing film that confronts the more corrosive effects of family dynamics with humour and sensitivity. Margaret falls between two stools where her faith is concerned and is baffled by her parents’ indifference to religion. She continually questions God and looks for an indication he might be listening; her strength of faith hinges on the things that go right or wrong. The critical phases in her young life are captured with humour and sensitivity. Margaret is old enough to question the world around her but too young to truly understand it. It’s a well observed piece that deserves more attention than it will actually get. Kathy Bates lends sterling support, but Abbey Rider Fortson looks to be a star in the making, if she can survive growing up?

About the Film Critic
Brian Penn
Brian Penn
Theatrical Release
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