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The film adaption of Judy Blume’s genre-defining “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” will be at a theater near you in the spring. Blume’s novel from 1970 remains a touchstone for middle school readers — and for adult readers who devoured the book in their own adolescence.
The coming-of-age book was groundbreaking thanks to Blume’s approach at describing 11-year-old Margaret Simon’s girlhood. She treats Margaret’s thoughts and fears regarding taboo topics — from faith to menstruation to sex — with great dignity and seriousness, and the result is that millions of young readers felt seen and heard as they made their first forays into grappling with adult concerns.
Because of this, Blume had long been reticent to allow the film to be turned into a movie.
“She was very nervous that someone would turn the film into something very glossy and pretty, where all the edges were sanded off,” writer-director Kelly Fremon Craig told Entertainment Weekly.
However, it was Fremon Craig’s film “The Edge of Seventeen” that changed Blume’s mind. The 2016 film, starring Hailee Steinfeld and Kyra Sedgwick, proved that the director knew how to take growing up as seriously as Blume herself.
“When I sat down with her, she had just seen my first film, ‘The Edge of Seventeen,’ and she expressed that that made her feel confident that I was going to embrace all the flaws and nuances,” Fremon Craig told EW. “That gave her confidence that the film would have the same honesty that she is so known for.”
Lionsgate gave Entertainment Weekly an exclusive first look at the film, and Fremon Craig tweeted pictures from the exclusive, giving fans their first glimpse of what the movie will look like:
— Kelly Fremon Craig (@KFremonCraig) January 10, 2023
Abby Ryder Fortson is playing the role of Margaret, and Rachel McAdams is her mother, Barbara. Kathy Bates will be Margaret’s Grandma Sylvia, the fashionable matriarch who influences Margaret while still making space for her to make her own decisions about faith and life.
“As the cast comes together my excitement grows,” Blume said in a statement, The Wrap reports. “Abby is funny and tender, strong yet vulnerable. She IS Margaret. And Rachel – wow! – does it get any better? A funny, loving, sexy, real woman who is also a mom. I can’t wait to see these two playing mother and daughter.”
“Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” opens on April 28.