Based on the beloved 1970 young adult novel of the same name by Judy Blume, Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret, is a charming and touching film that will likely please audiences young and old (Full disclosure: I have not read the book).
Abby Ryder Fortson plays Margaret, an 11-year-old whose family (Rachel McAdams and Benny Safdie) moves her from New York City to suburban New Jersey in 1970. Aside from homesickness, she deals with making new friends, her own self-consciousness, and a strong desire to mature quicker. From a half-Jewish, half-Christian family but raised as neither, she also grapples with questions of religious faith for a school project.
Margaret is a heroine who's easy to root for, and the other child characters are believably awkward but endearing. Fortson and McAdams have the film's biggest roles, and they turn in good performances, as does Kathy Bates as Margaret's grandmother. There are also a lot of laughs as Margaret and friends try to figure out what to expect when they reach puberty, especially a scene where Margaret and a friend cope with the embarrassment of buying their first-maxi pads at a drugstore.
The film also deals with faith and belief in a thoughtful manner that does not feel like a Sunday school lesson. Many films in today's era are either targeted specifically to church groups or ignore questions of belief and faith entirely.
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret is writer-director Kelly Freeman Craig's second film after 2016's The Edge of Seventeen. If you enjoy Margaret, you should give Seventeen a look as it is also a good coming of age story about a young woman.