Friday, 28 April 2023 15:46

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret Featured

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Movie Review written by Jon Patch with 3 out of 4 Paws

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret

Lionsgate, Starz and Gracie Films present a PG-13, 105-minute, Drama, Comedy, directed by Kelly Fremon Craig, written by Craig and Judy Blume with a theater release of April 28, 2023.

Margaret Simon (Abby Ryder Fortson) lives in the big city with her Christian mother Barbara (Rachel McAdams), her Jewish father Herb (Benny Safdie) and her Jewish grandmother Sylvia (Kathy Bates). All seemed great for the 11-year-old Margaret until one day when she returns from summer camp, she finds out she is moving into a home in New Jersey. She has to leave the city because her father got a better job which will help the family grow and prosper.

It’s tough taking a youngster away from there friends but the transition works with a little bit of time and some good new friends. Margaret gets initiated into a girl’s club right from the start by Nancy Wheeler (Elle Graham) the rich kid on the block, along with Janie Loomis (Amari Alexis Price) and Gretchen Potter (Katherine Mallen Kupferer). Life in the suburbs is sure different than the Big Apple but Margaret seems to do well especially since she has a crush on Moose Freed (Aidan Wojtak-Hissong) one of the locals that cuts her grass. School at that age in the 1970’s was so different than it is today but it still has some of the same elements, the school heartthrob Phillip Leroy (Zack Brooks), the awkward girl Laura Danker (Isol Young), the nerd Norman Fisher (Simms May) and the cool teacher Mr. Benedict (Echo Kellum).

Margaret had friends but at such a young age she was still trying to figure out life and with a Christian mother and a Jewish father her take on religion was far from certain. Her teacher Mr. Benedict suggested to her that she should make the topic of religion her school project of which she does. She attended several institutions of religion but still nothing seemed to grab her but when alone she still talks to God, whoever it may be! Barbara’s parents had cast her out when she married outside of her religion. I personally remember that was a huge factor back in the day! But now 12 years later her parents want to see their granddaughter which leads up to war of the religions with Margaret trapped in the middle. New friends, lack of religion and waiting to become a woman is a lot for a young girl to deal with but through it all the audience is taken on a very adventurous journey of discovery.

I loved being back in the 1070’s, the clothes, the hair, the furniture and the attitudes were so different then the world we live in now. As a child I cherished my only sister for many reasons but I did not know some of the struggles she would have as a female so at those times in the film it felt a bit personal to me as a male. Every child has a different experience back then and we got to look inside a family’s life that is dealing with everyday life. Nicely directed and written with a nice background of music and memorabilia I really enjoyed this story. It really is a great story primarily for a mother and daughter but still enjoyable for everyone.

Great job by the casting department, all the actors were phenomenal from the young to the old. Bates was amazing and, in many ways, she reminded me of my mother. I’m a big fan of McAdams and she surely doesn’t disappoint at all nor does Safdie. The young group of actors were superb with Fortson leading the pack, she was someone that we will be seeing more of in the future along with Graham as well. I will say I was much surprised no pets were part of the family, something that was quite popular back then and could have added a lot to the story line.

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