Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret – Joyfully Excruciating

Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret – Joyfully Excruciating

Written by Zoe Crombie

I’ll admit this upfront: I’m a sucker for films about the specificities of being a preteen girl. Not the Disney Channel Original Movie kind – those are too far removed from any reality to truly represent anybody – but the awkward, realist, endearingly unbearable kind that unabashedly shows periods, first bras, and attempted hair removal in all their glory. In recent years, my favourite of these has been Eighth Grade, a film that focuses in on the embarrassment and shame of being thirteen and its amplification through the ubiquity of social media.

 Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret is set in a world nearly fifty years behind Eighth Grade’s, matching the release year of the novel of the same name, but the experiences of the girl addressing God in the title may as well be contemporaneous. To add to the general misery of being an eleven year old, Margaret Simon is stuck between two worlds with a Jewish father and formerly Christian mother – played with joy and warmth by Benny Safdie and Rachel McAdams - who aren’t interested in introducing any religion to their daughter at all (a background oddly similar to my own mother’s). Abby Ryder Fortson displays an impressive degree of depth and nuance in the lead role, easily carrying the film – though it has to be said, the most memorable moments tend to come from Kathy Bates as Margaret’s grandma.

A cosy, nostalgic film that still doesn’t shy away from the messier elements of growing up, this is a beautifully crafted adaptation of a classic novel that should be mandatory viewing for everyone this year, whether you’re nine or ninety.

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret is showing from 16th June

Book your tickets here