Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret – Budget of $30 million – 1 hour and 46 minutes
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Eleven-year-old Margaret Simon returns from summer camp to the open arms of her mother, Barbara, and grandmother, Sylvia. She tells them all about the activities she participated in and the friends she made. Margaret notices boxes sprawled across her parents’ New York apartment. Margaret questions them, but her parents evade her curiosity. However, Sylvia blurts out the truth. Margaret and her family are moving to New Jersey. Margaret’s dad, Herb, got a promotion. Margaret starts to panic about losing her school and friends. Barbara tells Margaret that she will make new friends at her new school. Also, Barbara will be home more and help at PTA meetings like all the other moms. Margaret sighs and prepares for New Jersey by praying to God.
As the Simons move into their new home, a young girl, Nancy, knocks on the door. The real estate agent passed out a flyer about the Simons, and Nancy wanted to meet Margaret. She invites Margaret to run through the sprinklers outside her home. Margaret can’t find her bathing suit, so Nancy offers to let Margaret borrow one of hers. Nancy brings Margaret to her house to change and notices that Margaret hasn’t started wearing a bra yet. Nancy is a proud double-A and shows Margaret how she practices kissing on her bedpost. The girls discover they have the same teacher. So, Nancy tells Margaret to come to school without socks to meet her friends.
With her Achilles tendons covered in blisters, Margaret walks into her class and sits with Nancy and Nancy’s friends, Gretchen and Janine. Nancy invites Margaret to their secret meeting after school, and Margaret is ecstatic. Margaret runs home and asks for permission to go. Barbara says yes. Nancy, Janine, Margaret, and Gretchen sit at a tea party and discuss the club’s rules. First, everyone must wear a bra. Second, they have to tell the group when they get their period. Third, they have to keep a boy book with the name of the boys they like. Finally, they have to share the boys’ names. They all agree to the terms.
Margaret begs Barbara to take her bra shopping and wears it to the first meeting. Nancy checks each of the girls for their bras, and they talk about them. Nancy says they will get their period soon because they are wearing bras. They wonder who will be first, but no one wants to be last. Margaret runs home, gets on her knees, and prays to God to get her period. Margaret’s year of womanhood will bring family strife, religious insecurities, and two minutes in heaven.
Based on Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume, this movie makes a confusing time funny, heartfelt, and charming. Margaret’s womanhood isn’t her only struggle. She grows up in an interfaith family without religion because her maternal grandparents disowned Barbara for marrying a Jewish man. However, Margaret’s teacher, Mr. Benedict, urges her to choose religion as her research paper topic. Margaret doesn’t know what she believes but prays with joy, love, and frustration. Margaret learns about frienemies, bullying, and cute jerks within a year. But Margaret isn’t the only woman dealing with change. Sylvia has to navigate life without her family. And Barbara has to rediscover herself as a stay-at-home mom. If you haven’t read the book, this movie will have you running for a copy. If you have read the book, this movie was long overdue and worth the wait.
I give it 5 out of 5 stars
First, I heard a lot of good things about you – Margaret
Who’s side are you on – Herb
Yeah, welcome to womanhood – Barbara
Put your mother on the phone – Sylvia
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