Doubtfully, has there been a more enchanting film based on a book; Judy Blume’s novels are icons of realism; she excavates the minds, psyches of pubescent children rarely depicted on the page, let alone soaring on the screen; this masterfully profound adaptation resonates with all viewers, regardless of age or demographics. I loved every magical, candid, forthright moment.
“Margaret” portrayed with unaffected, genuine strength by Abby Ryder Fortson, is an eleven-year-old, transported from the sophisticated corridors of New York City to the rural, back-yard neighborhood of New Jersey; she is the progeny of a mixed marriage; her mother, “Barbara Simon” (deliciously seasoned Rachel McAdams) is Christian and father “Herb Simon” (simply ingratiating , Benny Safdie) is Jewish; Margaret is religiously naive, allowed to make her decision when adulthood materializes; her Jewish grandmother “Sylvia Simon” played with heuristic sincerity by Kathy Bates, proselytizes her Judaic beliefs.
Margaret’s quest, recognizing she direly needs a greater power’s aid, pleads for things of importance to an eleven-year-old: peer acceptance, boyfriends, menstruation and the desire to “belong” to a sect that satisfies her necessities; she has her own, unique relationship with God, does she need a venue (Church, Temple) to define her choice? Ambiguity is a principle, positive proponent, erasing prejudice in the film.
Sublimity surfaces with issues associated with hubris, angst and anger, addressed with grace, rational reasoning and equanimity. “Are You There God…..” resonates with the possibility that indeed he/she might actually be listening.
FOUR & ½ STARS!!!!