ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT’S ME, MARGARET is the book we loved in 1970 — and it’s the Mother’s Day movie we’re thrilled to get now!
What girl of the 1970s and ’80 (and beyond) didn’t try the exercise “We must, we must, we must increase our bust!”? Judy Blume’s novel, “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” was essential, if not furtive, fifth grade reading, with talk of bras, breast size, boys, and wondering which of your friends was going to get their period first. The book was a revelation to girls of the era, a female protagonist talking about all the things that felt taboo to talk about at that age, at that time.
Releasing in theaters tomorrow, April 28, the film adaptation is receiving the Critics Choice Association’s Seal of Female Empowerment in Entertainment. The “SOFEE” Seal, as it’s called, is given by the CCA’s Women’s Committee*, and recognizes films and TV series that illuminate the female experience and perspective through authentically told female-driven stories.
Adapted by writer-director Kelly Fremon Craig, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret focuses on three generations of women in the same family experiencing change. Pre-teen Margaret (Abby Ryder Fortson) is in puberty, Barbara (Rachel McAdams) is adjusting to being a suburban stay-at-home mom, and grandmother Sylvia (Kathy Bates) is trying to find purpose in her senior years. While the movie focuses on Margaret’s coming of age, Barbara and Sylvia each have their own storylines highlighting the challenges women face at different stages of life. As the title indicates, Margaret is on her own journey of faith, trying to decide if she wants to follow her father and grandmother into Judaism or her mother’s Christian upbringing.
“Making this film together with so many brilliant, talented women and girls in front of and behind the camera was a privilege and thrill,” said Fremon Craig about receiving the SOFEE recognition. “Sincere thanks to the CCA for this special distinction and for championing female stories on screen!”
Women who grew up with the book will thoroughly enjoy reliving their childhood through the film. Taking place in 1970, it’s filled with nostalgia – like when 11-year-olds would just show up at the door of the new kid and instantly go play in the sprinklers. The casting is ideal, with McAdams and Bates bringing Margaret’s mom and grandmother to life with such believability that it adds even more authenticity to the beloved book.
It’s fun to look back, but it’s also a conversation starter for females in a family. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret is the perfect Mother’s Day movie for mother, daughter, and grandmother to enjoy together.
*Tara McNamara is the Chairperson of the Critics Choice Association Women’s Committee, which issues the SOFEE Seal.