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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Movies with Tarek – ‘Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.’

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“My only advice is to stay aware, listen carefully, and yell for help if you need it.”

– Judy Blume

When there is a need for guidance in a young girl’s life, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. provides a shining light. Based on the award-winning novel by Judy Blume, this film offers a realistic portrait of the feelings experienced during developmental years. In the eyes of Margaret, her adventures span a range of common questions she is facing and bold curiosities she is exploring. Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret. dives deep into Margaret’s life and is completely engrossing. Directed and written by Kelly Fremon Craig, this film is faithful to the classic novel and sheds a positive light for all ages.

In the film, Margaret, age eleven, is played by Abby Ryder Fortson. Her mom and dad are Barbara and Herb (played by Rachel McAdams and Benny Safdie). Her grandma, Sylvia, is played by Kathy Bates. Margaret is a shy and introverted individual on the nerdy side. She is just a normal young lady whose life takes a shift when her family moves from the city to the suburbs. Her mother is Christian, and her father is Jewish. Margaret’s parents never practiced their religion with her or encouraged her to choose a faith. Once Margaret and her family move, she becomes friends with Nancy, played by Elle Graham. Nancy is on the popular side and has an ego. Nancy influences Margaret to develop one, too, especially when it comes to sex and boys.

Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret. will remind viewers of learning about topics that seemed awkward once upon a time. The film is written in a realistic manner that accurately reflects the narrative of youth.

The ups and downs of adolescent life are illustrated throughout the film. Margaret feels grateful at times and in others not so much. She finds herself enjoying the company of her grandma more than anyone else. That is probably because her grandma is more adventurous with her than her parents. While her parents are not bad people, they just never exposed Margaret to many aspects of their own lives. This lack of attention is key to Margaret gaining the attention of Nancy’s friendship. Some moments in the story depict belittling and condescending behaviors which are a bit of a downer. Despite the harshness, Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret. is a reminder that in life it is OK to feel what our heart tells us to feel. This is especially true for someone young like Margaret.

If readers know the works of Judy Blume, then they will recognize that this film is based on her novel. Blume’s writing is always articulate and honest. Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret. is one of the most honest film adaptations I have seen and even one of the top films of 2023 so far for me. The performance of Fortson, McAdams, Bates, and Safdie are all touching and monumental. The film is a revelation.

Is there a happy path forward for Margaret? Are there other curiosities or scenarios that will help her expand her horizons? Find out in Are you There God? It’s Me Margaret. Four stars.

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Tarek Fayoumi
Tarek Fayoumihttp://movieswithtarek.com
Tarek Fayoumi is the creator and lead critic of movieswithtarek.com. He also contributes to Medium.com, is an approved critic of Bananameter, and a member of the Chicago Indie Critics (CIC) and Independent Film Critics of America.

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