Adapting novels for the big screen has long been a fruitful tradition for Hollywood. From Gone With the Wind to Forrest Gump some of the most successful movies in history have come from the page. So why then did it take over 50 years for a silver-screen adaptation of the 1970 classic Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.
Luckily, despite all that time, the result is worth the wait. The cinematic adaptation was only released earlier in 2023 and has now also arrived on Amazon Prime Video. With 99% on Rotten Tomatoes, I decided to give it a go and I was not disappointed.
If you're not familiar with the book then let me explain. This is very much a coming-of-age movie, following 11-year-old Margaret as she moves from New York to New Jersey and navigates the perils of puberty and religion. At once very funny and touching, this adaptation (which was co-produced by author Judy Blume) stars Abby Ryder Fortson as the title character alongside Rachel McAdams, Benny Safdie and Kathy Bates. All are superb.
After moving out of the big city, Margaret has to make new friends at a time in her life when she's very conscious about her own development. The titular refrain "Are you there God?" is often used by her to request something important, be it not moving, the arrival of her period or physical development via puberty. But it doesn't seem like her prayers are being listened to. This causes her to have a minor crisis of faith, and with her father a non-practising Jew and her mother a lapsed Christian, she has never really interrogated her beliefs before. Throw in two sets of grandparents with their own agendas and things start to become a little tricky.
It's not exactly an action-packed blockbuster but if you're looking for a warm, heartfelt story, your prayers have been answered by this cinematic mug of hot chocolate.