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Kelly Fremon Craig
Abby Ryder Fortson, Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates
Writing Credits:
Kelly Fremon Craig

When her family moves from the city to the suburbs, 11-year-old Margaret navigates new friends, feelings, and the beginning of adolescence.

Box Office:
$30 million.
Opening Weekend
$6,739,037 on 351 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English Dolby Atmos
English Descriptive Audio
Spanish Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 106 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 7/11/2023

• Deleted Scenes
• “Finally That Time” Featurette
• “It’s Me, Judy” Featurette
• “The Secret Crew Club” Featurette
• “Bringing the Period to Life” Featurette
• “Roundtable Discussion” Featurette


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Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret [Blu-Ray] (2023)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 31, 2023)

In 1970, Judy Blume published a “tween coming of age” tale called Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. It turned into a classic for adolescents, one that finally leapt to the movie screens in 2023.

Set in 1970, 11-year-old Margaret Simon (Abby Ryder Fortson) lives in New York City with her parents Barbara (Rachel McAdams) and Herb (Benny Safdie). However, when Herb gets a promotion at work, the family moves to the New Jersey suburbs.

Not only does this (mildly) separate Margaret from her beloved paternal grandmother Sylvia (Kathy Bates), but also it means she enters a new school – and new social environment – right as she starts sixth grade. Margaret must contend with all these challenges while she also goes through puberty.

Though I was a toddler when God hit shelves, I remember it as a staple of elementary school reading habits in my youth – well, for girls, at least. I seem to recall we boys might check out other Blume works, but a novel about a girl’s path through puberty didn’t exactly “speak” to us.

At least God made sense for me in terms of age back then, though. Now firmly in my 50s, can a movie about a pre-teen’s journey through the pitfalls of adolescence provide anything of interest?

As it happens: yeah. Despite the various reasons I don’t connect to God personally, it nonetheless delivers a charming film.

It helps that despite the apparent focus on the female experience, a lot of what God covers feels universal. Sure, it comes with topics unique to girls – bust development, menstruation, etc. – but the majority of the tale takes on a different vibe.

This means God acts as a more global “coming of age” experience than the synopsis might imply. It gets into topics that affect kids of both genders, so it doesn’t restrict itself solely to “female issues”.

It also never condescends to the characters. God plays up comedy at times, but it doesn’t become a silly laughfest.

The film doesn’t revel in melodrama, either, and it keeps its 1970 setting appealing but not goofy or faux nostalgic. The story can feel dated due to the decision to keep it in the novel’s era, but it tells enough truths to hold up nonetheless.

Despite its title, God doesn’t offer an actual religious bent. While it depicts aspects of the ways Margaret becomes intrigued by these topics, they act as backdrop and not a primary topic.

A nice cast helps, led by Fortson. She avoids “Child Actor Syndrome” and creates a natural take on her role.

Unassuming and bright, God delivers a winning coming of age tale. It avoids the usual pitfalls to deliver a delightful narrative.

The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B/ Bonus C+

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This turned into a terrific visual presentation.

Sharpness always satisfied. Virtually no softness materialized along the way, so expect a tight image.

Neither moiré effects nor jagged edges became an issue, and I saw no edge haloes. Source flaws also failed to turn into a concern.

Colors leaned toward a subdued and “nostalgic” sense of amber and teal. The image kept these choices low-key and well-rendered.

Blacks felt deep and dense, while shadows appeared smooth and concise. The movie offered a top-notch picture.

Did a character piece like God need a Dolby Atmos soundtrack? Not really, but downcoverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the mix worked pretty well.

Unsurprisingly, general environmental information dominated. This created a nice sense of place, albeit one without a lot of ambition.

Still, we got a good feel for the settings, and the track delivered a fine connection to the locations. I couldn’t choose anything truly memorable, but I still thought the soundfield opened up matters in a more than reasonable way.

Audio quality worked fine. Speech seemed natural and concise, without edginess or other issues.

Music offered nice range and lushness, while effects delivered appealing accuracy and punch. Again, this never turned into a sizzling track, but it worked well for the material.

A mix of extras appear, and we open with Finally That Time. The featurette spans 19 minutes, 55 seconds and involves writer/director Kelly Fremon Craig, producers James L. Brooks, Amy Lorraine Brooks, Aldric La’auli Porter and Julie Ansell, composer Hans Zimmer, and actors Kathy Bates, Abby Ryder Fortson, Rachel McAdams, Benny Safdie, Elle Graham, Katherine Kupferer, Amari Price, Simms May, Zackary Brooks, Jecobi Swain, Aidan Wojtak-Hissong, Landon Baxter, Echo Kellum, and Isol Young.

The program covers the source novel and its adaptation, story and characters, cast and performances, Craig’s impact on the flick, music, and some shoot specifics. The show mixes insights and happy talk to become a moderately informative but spotty piece.

Are You There, Margaret? It’s Me, Judy goes for eight minutes. As implied, we hear from Craig, Kellum, Fortson, Bates, Wojtak-Hissong, Amy Lorraine Brooks, McAdams, James L. Brooks, Ansell, and novelist Judy Blume.

Blume discusses aspects of her book and its adaptation for the screen. The others chime in praise, but at least the author manages to give us a few good notes.

Next comes The Secret Crew Club. It spans seven minutes, 58 seconds and delivers notes from Porter, Fortson, Young, Kupferer, Graham, Price, Swain, May, Zackary Brooks, Wojtak-Hissong, Baxter and James L. Brooks.

“Crew” looks at the youthful members of the cast. We find out how much fun they had in this superficial reel.

Bringing the Period to Life lasts 10 minutes, seven seconds. It offers info from Blume, Craig, James L. Brooks, Ansell, McAdams, Fortson, Kupferer, Graham, May, Swain, property master John Bankson, production designer Steve Saklad, and set decorator Selina M. van den Brink.

With this program, we learn about attempts to recreate the world of 1970. Though it leans fluffy at times, it comes with mostly solid informational value.

After this we get a Roundtable Discussion. It goes for six minutes, 12 seconds and features Blume, Craig, Fortson, McAdams, Ansell and James L. Brooks.

They talk about the novel’s path to the screen and aspects of the tale. I like the fact we see these principals all together, but the chat lacks much depth.

In addition to the film’s trailer. we finish with two Deleted Scenes that total a mere one minute, 35 seconds. In the first, Margaret and her grandma discuss boobs and bras, while in the second, Margaret frets about her lack of bosom. Both seem moderately interesting but not essential.

An adaptation of a classic novel, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret holds up well. It becomes a charming coming of age story that works even beyond its youthful target audience. The Blu-ray brings excellent visuals, appealing audio and a mix of bonus materials. This turns into a pretty delightful movie.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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