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Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. (2023)

This coming-of-age movie based on the 1970 book by Judy Blume gives viewers a scope on female topics in the quest for a religious identity.

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. (2023)

2.5 / 5
2.5 / 5

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret is a 2023 movie based on the 1970 novel of the same name by Judy Blume. After more than 50 years, a movie based on the novel is coming to the big screen.

The main theme of this film is identity. Margaret Simon has parents with two different religious identities. One of her parents is Christian while the other practices Judaism, she goes on a quest to discover her religious identity. In fact, the movie’s title, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, gives viewers a clue about which identity Margaret is trying to find. Her prayers to God indicate that she is trying to find her own religious identity outside her parents’ two different religions. Religious identity is often less explored in cinema, especially in a way that is nuanced and not apologetic for the ills of religion in world history and current politics.

There is a strong representation of women in this coming-of-age movie, though most of the women playing the main roles are white. Janie Loomis (Amari Alexis Price) is played by an African actress, so there is also some representation of women of color. Viewers recognize Rachel McAdams from her starring roles in Mean Girls and The Notebook, as Rachel plays Barbara Simon, Margaret’s mother. Kelly Fremon Craig is a female director.

The Pre-Teen Sensations is a girls-only group that discusses female things such as having their first period. The topic of first periods and boobs symbolize emerging womanhood. Margaret becomes worried about starting her first period. Her worries reflect on puberty topics that most adolescent girls have trouble speaking about to their parents or caregivers. Some girls think they’re growing too fast, others think they’re falling behind their peers. The movie also explores emerging sexuality in teens. Laura allows boys to touch her boobs, which is a sexual act. Another sexual act is Margaret and Phillip kissing during a game of “two minutes in the closet”.

Margaret is struggling with her relationship with God, as God has created her and given her a birth date. By the end of her school project, she still has not resolved her religious identity. Her unresolved conflict about her religious identity serves as a cliffhanger to the viewers.

Her prayers to God, “I know you’re there God. I know you wouldn’t have missed this for anything! Thank you, God. Thanks an awful lot….” serves as the epilogue to Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. She has learned a lot about herself and what’s coming next in adolescence and in life.

Therefore, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret is a coming-of-age story focusing on puberty in young girls and religious identity. This movie is recommended for older viewers since there are sexual acts.