Jacob Mendez
Jacob Mendez

“Are you there, God? It's me, Margaret”: An excellent film that bypassed Polish cinemas. Where to watch it?

  • A timeless coming-of-age story that has appealed to subsequent generations for decades. At the age of 11, Margaret moves to a new city and begins to consider everything related to existence, friendship and adolescence. Her mother, who is trying to acclimatize to a new place, and her grandmother Sylvia, who is trying to find happiness in the next stage of her life, offer her loving support.
  • Main roles in the film “Are you there, God? It's me Margaret” played: Rachel McAdams (in the role of mother), Kathy Bates (grandmother) i Abby Ryder Fortson (Margaret).
  • The film is available on the HBO Max platform.

Movie “Are you there, God? It's me Margaret” although it received great reviews overseas last year, it bypassed Polish cinemas and appeared immediately on HBO Max. “Please don't let New Jersey be too terrible,” says a distraught Margaret Simon (Abby Ryder Fortson), whose parents Barbara and Herb (Rachel McAdams, Benny Safdie) have just announced that they are moving from Brooklyn to suburbia. This could be the beginning of another story from the universe of Kevin Smith, who for 30 years has been self-ironically portraying a place that is to pompous New Yorkers what Radom is to pompous Warsaw residents.

Margaret doesn't want to move to a suburb taken out of the mythology of the 1950s, a white house behind a white fence with a perfectly trimmed lawn. She may exist in a small apartment in the middle of crazy New York, but life is pulsating outside the window, the 1970s are approaching, and life's harmony is created by the feisty grandmother Sylvia (Kathy Bates), who does not want to lose sight of her beloved granddaughter.

Sylvia clings to her granddaughter not only because of blood, but also because of religion. Grandma is a deeply religious Jew and wants Margaret to discover the beauty of Judaism. It's just that Margaret's parents are raising her non-religiously by choice, allowing her to decide for herself what religion she will choose when she grows up. All because of the misalliance her mother committed in the eyes of the family. Barbara comes from a conservative Christian home, where a relationship with a follower of Judaism was not welcomed. Sylvia, a Jewish woman, is not particularly in love with Gentiles either. Herb therefore chooses the path of secular Jewishness, which even physically places him in the neurotic world of Larry David and Woody Allen. Salfdie is perfect for this role.

Meanwhile, Margaret immediately finds herself under the wing of “neighborhood friends”, led by Nancy (Elle Graham), who introduces her to the world of American suburbs with their specific social code and climate. It is in such a world that teenage Margaret enters adolescence, where the first period is a determinant of maturity in the group. In addition, the first serious flirtations begin, the fight for a place in the school hierarchy and the recognition of peer pressure. Barbara also encounters the essence of the “American dream”, personified by the conservative order of the world in the suburbs. Mothers working in the school council take care of the home, and fathers earn money. But Barbara is a free spirit from New York's Babylon and doesn't want to fit into this mold. A very American scheme and surrounded by mythology, which was questioned in the 1960s.

“Are you there, God? It's me Margaret” is an emancipatory and feminist cinema that talks about the search for freedom of a mature woman and a maturing girl. Mothers and daughters thrown into a world built by men. However, this film is devoid of intrusive journalism and ideological influences. It's close to great “Lady Bird” by Greta Gerwigwhich was also about growing up in the shadow of religion, but Kelly Fremon Craig goes towards warmer and lighter cinema.

The film is based on a book by Judy Blume published in the 1970s, which is one of the most important countercultural novels of its turbulent times. Published two years after the revolutionary year of 1968, it aroused great controversy due to its open description of the essence of the first menstruation in a woman's life and raising the question of whether it is allowed to impose one's religion on a child. In today's secularized and feminized world, these questions do not arouse much controversy, so Fremon had to shift her center of gravity to other issues. That's why the scene of Sylvia meeting Barbara's parents (Mia Dillon, Gary Houston) and the emphasis on relationships with her new friends are so important.

The personality of teenagers and their existential dilemmas are not bound by their times, so the smartphone generation can successfully look at itself in the mirror of Margaret High School from half a century ago. The director and author of the script previously gave us a very interesting story “The Bitter Seventeen” (2016), where, playing the cards of high school cinema, young adults were able to tell a lively and fleshy story of coming of age in contemporary high school, where the American soul really acquires its most important features. I know something about this as an American high school graduate. It's true that it was at the turn of the century, but the spirit of Margaret's world permeated my world in the late 1990s. So I testify that the subtle “Are you there, God? It's me, Margaret” tells us in a very wise way about the USA and the maturation of those who have been soaked in American culture. That means all of us.


“Are you there, God? It's me Margaret” (Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret), dir. Kelly Fremon Craig, USA 2023, availability: HBO Max.