You might be upset that you could not see a full Mean Girls reunion in the Walmart ad because Rachel McAdams chose to be excluded from that narrative. But here’s a film based on a once-banned book, streaming on Netflix, that you can watch instead to get your fill of McAdams.
In 2023, the world witnessed the long-awaited cinematic adaptation of the beloved and once-banned Judy Blume novel Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. Directed and written by Kelly Fremon Craig, this coming-of-age comedy-drama film brought to life the timeless story penned by Blume in 1970. And now it is available to stream on Netflix in a select few countries.
The film stars Abby Ryder Fortson as the title character, Margaret Simon, and features a stellar cast that includes Rachel McAdams as Margaret’s mother, Barbara Simon, Elle Graham, Benny Safdie, and the ever-versatile Kathy Bates.
The story of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, may not seem that revolutionary through the modern lens, albeit it is still just as relevant. However, it was not without controversy upon release. The novel has faced bans and censorship attempts throughout its history due to its candid discussion of puberty, religious exploration, and topics often considered taboo in children’s literature.
After nearly five decades since the book’s publication, Blume finally sold the film rights to James L. Brooks and Kelly Fremon Craig. Their collaboration brought this cherished story to the big screen, where it has continued to spark meaningful conversations about faith, girlhood, and the power of choice.
What is Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret about?
In Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, the story unfolds in 1970 when 11-year-old Margaret faces a life-altering change as her family relocates from New York City to a New Jersey suburb.
Coping with the challenges of moving and adjusting to a new environment, Margaret finds solace in her unique and secular relationship with God. She begins a heartfelt dialogue with the deity, sharing her anxieties, concerns, and hopes without feeling any need to assign any particular religion to God.
Margaret quickly forms friendships with her neighbour, Nancy Wheeler, and her friends, Gretchen Potter and Janie Loomis. The girls navigate the turbulent waters of puberty in typical childlike stupor, from the hunt for their first bras to sharing stories of their first kisses. Her family’s diverse religious backgrounds profoundly impact Margaret’s journey of self-discovery—her mother comes from a devoutly Christian family while her father belongs to a Jewish one—as she grapples with choosing her own faith.
The film touches upon the complexities of family dynamics, estranged relationships, and the exploration of one’s beliefs and paints its frames with Bildungsroman strokes. In an era where freedom of thought and expression is increasingly essential, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret remains a pertinent story that resonates even today.
You can watch the adaptation of Judy Blume’s timeless story Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, on Netflix.