Heartwarming coming-of-age story that’s a treat to watch : The Tribune India

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Heartwarming coming-of-age story that’s a treat to watch

(3/5)
Heartwarming coming-of-age story that’s a treat to watch

Abby Ryder Fortson plays Margaret.



Film: Netflix: Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret

Director: Kelly Fremon Craig

Cast: Rachel McAdams, Abby Ryder Fortson, Benny Safdie, Kathy Bates, Echo Kellum

Mona

An 11-year-old navigating the move from city to suburbs, dealing with changes in body and mind, and facing the tough choice to be Jewish or Christian... our little Margaret is in a tough spot.

The Kelly Fremon Craig directorial is a sweet, innocent, charming coming-of-age drama peppered with some really fine performances. Based on Judy Blume’s 1970 classic novel of the same name, the screenplay is by Craig and invokes the ’70s charm through its music: Stevie Wonder’s ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours’ and Cat Stevens’ ‘The Wind’, amongst others.

It charts the story of the Simon family — Herb, Barbara and their daughter Margaret — starting a new chapter. While the couple is looking forward to the change, Margaret is not really kicked about joining a new school and leaving behind friends as well her grandmother who calls city home. As the family navigates the new lanes, skeletons from the past tumble out.

Rachel McAdams as Barbara looks angelic and portrays the different emotional strands remarkably well. Abby Ryder Fortson sure has been acting ever since she was three-and-a-half; how she portrays her bewilderment, curiosity, dread and grief is a treat to watch. An innocent child communicating with God, navigating life has come out beautifully. Some of the scenes between the reel mother-daughter stand out, especially the one where they go yelling — ‘You are a woman. I’m a woman’ — flailing hands around, laughing and crying at the same time.

Benny Safdie as Herb fairs well as the supportive spouse; the feted Kathy Bates as the dramatic, doting grandmother Sylvia is a delight! Even supportive characters like Echo Kellum as Mr Benedict are remarkable; even in flashes, he conveys so much.

Judy Blume took forever to let her book be turned into a film; it’s all been worth the wait. It’s a 13 plus — there’s discussion on male anatomy, some startling scenes involving teens kissing and period talk. Fathers, sit with your daughters to watch this one if only you have been open and frank!

Thanks Judy and Kelly for a beautiful watch, thanks an awful lot!