Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret (2023): A Bland Coming Of Age Story

Multiple films get released throughout the year, making me wonder who exactly is the target audience for this movie.

Rachel McAdams as Barbara Simon and Abby Ryder Fortson as Margaret Simon in Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. Photo Credit: Dana Hawley

A perfect example of this is the 2023 remake of ‘Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.’ Who is this film aimed at? The easy answer to this question is women, but which women?

The ones who are old enough to remember the original Judy Blume book are in their seventies. The women who are old enough to remember the influence that this book had in their lives are in their fifties and the women that this film tries to target are about 12 years old.

What you have is a film whose audience is so broad that it essentially doesn’t have one which may explain why a film with a 30 million dollar budget only got a 19 million return at the box office.


‘Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret’ is a story about a young girl named Margaret (Abby Ryder Fortson) who is a product of an Interfaith marriage. Her dad is Jewish along with her grandmother, on the flip side, Margaret’s mother is Christian however she has strayed away from her faith due to the fact that her parents disowning her due to the fact that she married someone of an opposing faith.

Margaret is a girl who talks to God every day however she doesn’t really believe in any religion. As she moves on to her teen years and a new town in New Jersey, she begins to ask more questions about her life. A homework assignment from her school has led her to ask deeper questions about faith. However, the family conflict between Jews and Christians is making it much harder for her to draw a line between her faith and her family.

If we’re judging this movie strictly on its storytelling, ‘Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret’ is actually a decent enough story for most younger audiences. Abby Ryder Fortsona, who plays Margaret, is a charismatic young woman who does a good job carrying the film’s narrative throughout.


She is joined by more seasoned actresses Kathy Bates and Rachel McAdams who carry the more dramatic portions of the film that she can’t. The style is quirky and there’s a lot of humor that is aimed at a young female demographic so needless to say this will be a more entertaining watch for women than male audiences.

When the film is focused on the life of a young teenage girl and a coming of age setting the film does very well, when the movie has to address the big picture, the fundamental flaw of the story arises.

Judy Blume is a Jewish woman who modeled this story very close to her own upbringing. The conflict of this film comes when Margaret first meets her grandparents or her mother’s side who are depicted as close-minded Christian parents because they don’t approve of their daughter’s marriage.


It’s biblically stated that Christians should not marry those who practice other religions as you can only serve one master not two. From the perspective of this story, the parent’s objection is portrayed more as bigotry than scripturally sound.

This leads to Margaret’s big blow-up where she admits that she doesn’t even believe in God before storming away yet this is supposed to be the film’s conclusion and quasi-happy ending.


If that was the takeaway that Hollywood wanted for this film then I guess it’s a job well done, However, the first two acts don’t mesh well with the third Act of the movie.

‘Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret’ is a film that is 2/3rds of a good movie at best but not a very engaging one.





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