We Must, We Must All See This Movie About Pre-Teenage Sexual Angst
If ever there is a Must See Movie to go to, it is “Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret.” It may have taken over 50 years to adapt renowned children’s author Judy Blume’s popular book to the big screen, but as they say “Better Late Than Never!” In theatres everywhere Friday, April 28th.
THE STORY GOES…
“Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret.” is a timeless story about an 11-year-old pre-teen girl facing puberty and pre-teenager anxiety to the nth degree — sexual angst, menstruation and breasts, sanitary napkins and bra-wearing angst, the stress of making new friends, boy curiosity and more. Throw in her questions about religion and faith or lack thereof as the product of an interfaith marriage, and you have a realistic tale that truly stands the test of time.
The award-winning iconic book was originally published in 1970 at a time when discussing puberty, especially sex, was taboo. For young women everywhere, it was the first book that really spoke to growing up as a young girl and exploring what was going on with their bodies and their emotions in a way that made them feel seen. In the 70s, most mothers preferred to let Blume’s book explain the changes happening to their adolescent daughter rather than talk about it first-hand.
The 2023 Lionsgate film adaptation also takes place in 1970 and perfectly portrays the overall pre-teen angst of every girl, beautifully acted out by a superb list of actors beginning with Abby Ryder Fortson as Margaret and actress Rachel McAdams who portrays her mother in the film. Rounding out the cast is Kathy Bates, Elle Graham and Benny Safdie.
JUDY BLUME and KELLY FREMON CRAIG in CONVERSATION
In advance of the theatrical release, author Judy Blume and director Kelly Fremon Craig hit the press circuit to discuss the film adaptation and the timeless tale. The conversation included answers to what makes Margaret (“almost twelve and full of questions”) so relatable, and the power of Blume’s story to continue to speak to and connect to generations of women. I was lucky enough to catch them in NYC at the 92NY Cultural and Arts Center to hear them first hand in conversation and see an advance screening with my little girl (now a bride-to-be). It was a packed with hundreds of pseudo-Margarets in the house, including me. I said to my daughter, “that was me growing up, pointing to the old-school dial telephones, flower-child clothing, rock music, and more. But, the premise was also her. And relates to my 11-year-old niece, now. Timeless! And, while my mom did not grow up with the book at age 10, she is crediting herself with buying the book for me. I can see that. She did. Timeless!
According to Judy, she believes the movie is even better than the book. Hard to believe, right? In this case, I tend to agree. Kudos to Kelly Fremon Craig for relentlessly getting this beloved book to the big screen. It is beautifully written for the screen by Kelly and Judy and directed by Kelly.
“You can’t stop young girls from standing around in elementary school talking about periods. And it is laughable, it would be great if it was a joke. But it’s not!” — Judy Blume
During my growing up years, it was taboo to discuss sex, more specifically about what was happening to our bodies. For my daughter, while they talked about it in her grade school and I tried to talk to her about it at home (age 9/10), she covered her ears, not ready to hear about it from me. Now, in 2023, girls still are not made to feel like this is a normal evolution – especially when you have states banning books like this in the classrooms and beyond … Shout out to the states in question — you know who you are!
If this story had to wait 50 plus years to be told on the big screen, “Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret? could not have come out at a better time. Old issues are resurfacing worse than ever – anti-Semitism is on the rise, women’s reproductive rights are on the line and banning of books and censorship is actually a thing again. What’s a young girl to do? She must watch the new movie “Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret.”
One of my most favorite topics to write about is when art converges with advocacy to create positivity and social change. A young girl’s curiosity about her growing body and sex should never be political. The pre-teenage years for girls are difficult enough. They should never be made to feel that their changing bodies is something to be ashamed about. The 2023 film adaptation of Judy Blume’s classic and beloved children’s book has Socially Sparked® our lives for over 50 years and still remains timeless and appeals to every generation. It is a Must See Movie. This story may have appealed to mostly the female sex in 1970 but, in 2023, it is okay for the males of the world, young and old, to relate and love this movie as much as us girls and women do. Either way you go — the film or book version — “Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret” is the perfect vehicle to jumpstart and/or halt the growing movement to stifle progress with censorship. — Abbe is forever Socially Sparked! Tweet me at @sosparkednews & @asparks01