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Starring: Rachel McAdams, Abby Ryder Fortson, Elle Graham, Benny Safdie, Kathy Bates
OUR RATING: ★★★★☆
Comedy drama written and directed by Kelly Fremon Craig. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret (2023) centers on 11-year-old Margaret (Abby Ryder Fortson), who is uprooted from her life in New York City for the suburbs of New Jersey, going through the messy and tumultuous throes of puberty with new friends in a new school. She relies on her mother, Barbara (Rachel McAdams), who is also struggling to adjust to life outside the big city, and her adoring grandmother, Sylvia (Kathy Bates), who isn’t happy they moved away and likes to remind them every chance she gets.
Margaret Simon: Oh, you made this?
Sylvia Simon: From scratch. It’s cashmere. I did everything, but shave the goat.
Sylvia Simon: You’re moving.
Herb Simon: Really, Mom?
Margaret Simon: What?
Barbara Simon: Sylvia, you promised.
Margaret Simon: We’re moving?
Sylvia Simon: She saw the boxes. She was putting it together.
Barbara Simon: I don’t think she was.
Margaret Simon: So, we’re moving?!
Margaret Simon: We’re leaving New York?
Herb Simon: Barely leaving New York. It’s just on the other side of the river.
Margaret Simon: But we’re happy here. We don’t need to move.
Herb Simon: No, we don’t need to move, but we want to move. Right?
Margaret Simon: I don’t.
Sylvia Simon: [to Margaret] Oh, my darling. I’m never going to see you again.
Herb Simon: Oh, Jesus. So dramatic all the time.
Margaret Simon: Are you there, God? It’s me Margaret Simon. I just wanted… Well. First, I’ve heard a lot of great things about you. I don’t want to move. I’ve never lived anywhere but the city, and I don’t want to do this. Please, I’m begging you. Just please, just stop this move from happening. If you can’t do that, just please don’t let New Jersey be too horrible.
Nancy Wheeler: [to Margaret] You’re still flat. Well, I’m already growing. See? I’m going to have a pretty big chest. You know, coming from New York, I thought you’d be a lot more grown up.
Nancy Wheeler: Anyways, listen, Margaret. I’ve decided I want you to join my secret club. There’s three of us and I’m letting in one more. But you can’t wear socks, or else the others might not want you.
Barbara Simon: [to Margaret, referring to school] Are you ready for your first day? How you feeling? It’s going to be great, right?
Herb Simon: And if it’s not great, first days don’t count anyways.
Herb Simon: I just got a new power mower, and I’m really excited for the grass to grow.
'I hate feeling self-conscious trying not to feel self-conscious, because then you only feel more self-conscious.' - Mr. Benedict (Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret) Click To Tweet
Mr. Benedict: I love that I’m finally getting to be a teacher for the first time. I hate feeling self-conscious trying not to feel self-conscious, because then you only feel more self-conscious, and then you’re blabbing in front of a whole bunch of kids.
Barbara Simon: And how are you?
Sylvia Simon: Oh, fine. I read that when you don’t have any loved ones around your life expectancy drops drastically. But, you know, I’ve had a good run.
Nancy Wheeler: If you want to be in the club, then you have to wear a bra.
Margaret Simon: I want to get a bra.
Barbara Simon: Oh. Do you think you need one?
Margaret Simon: I guess I just don’t like those holidays because I don’t celebrate any of them. My dad is Jewish, and my mom’s Christian, so instead of picking which religion I am, they just decided that I wouldn’t have one and I can choose when I grow up.
'I cannot wait to take it off.' - Margaret Simon, 'Yeah. Welcome to womanhood.' - Barbara Simon (Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret) Click To Tweet
Barbara Simon: [referring to her parents] They told me it would be very hard for them to have a Jewish son-in-law. And that if I wanted to marry him, that was my business, but I wouldn’t be their daughter anymore.
Margaret Simon: But you are their daughter.
Barbara Simon: I guess, what I mean is that, they just didn’t want me in their life anymore. So, I’m not.
Margaret Simon: [praying] Oh, also, I’m getting a bra today. I’d like something to put in it, please.
Barbara Simon: We’re looking for a bra for my daughter.
Department Store Sales Lady: Well, we don’t have many that small.
Department Store Sales Lady: [after measuring Margaret’s bra size] Barely a twenty-eight. Not even a double A. Your best bet is going to be to go with one of these Gro-Bras here. So one day, when you do grow, it’ll grow with you.
'I think that maybe the truth is there's nobody up there. There's nobody listening. There's only just me.' - Margaret Simon (Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret) Click To Tweet
Barbara Simon: [as Margaret tries on the bra] How does that feel?
Margaret Simon: I cannot wait to take it off.
Barbara Simon: Yeah. Welcome to womanhood.
Herb Simon: You ever been kissed in the suburbs?
Barbara Simon: No, sir.
Nancy Wheeler: If you want to get out of those small bras, you’re going to have to do the same exercise and technique I do.
Margaret Simon: There’s an exercise?
Nancy Wheeler: Of course there is. You hold your arms out like this, and you say, “I must. I must. I must increase my bust. I must. I must. I must increase my bust!”
Janie Loomis: Does that really work?
Nancy Wheeler: I’m living proof.
Margaret Simon: You know, maybe I will do my school project on religion. I think it’s finally time for me to decide what to be, God. You wouldn’t mind, would you? I’ll tell you all about it. And I promise I won’t make any decisions without you first.
Sylvia Simon: There’s the rabbi. He’s the best in the city. Two hours, in and out, bing, bang, boom.
'It gets tiring trying so hard all the time, doesn't it?' - Barbara Simon (Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret) Click To Tweet
Margaret Simon: You said that I can choose my own religion when I grow up.
Barbara Simon: Yeah, when you grow up. When you’re an adult.
Margaret Simon: I’m almost twelve. That’s almost an adult.
Barbara Simon: Honey, no.
Herb Simon: [referring to Margaret] Well, she’ll go to a couple of endless services, and then, she’ll realize how lucky she was we never made her go. Know what got me off going to temple?
Barbara Simon: What?
Herb Simon: Going to temple. You don’t understand a word they’re saying. And you sit there for a long time.
Gretchen Potter: [referring to the male anatomy in the medical book] It looks like a thumb.
Janie Loomis: It’s so saggy.
Gretchen Potter: It’s a wobbly blob.
Janie Loomis: I never want to see anyone naked, or have anyone see me naked. It’s just gross.
Nancy Wheeler: Come on. What about when you get married?
Janie Loomis: Especially then.
Gretchen Potter: [as they’re looking at the model in the magazine] Look how round they are. Mine just look like little wizard hats.
Gretchen Potter: [referring to the model in the magazine] Do you think any of us will look like that when we’re nineteen?
Girls: We must. We must. We must increase our bust!
Margaret Simon: [after her first kiss with Philip Leroy] I know I shouldn’t be enjoying this, God, but it’s just too good.
Margaret Simon: If only you could give me a hint, God. I’m more confused than ever. Which religion should I be? Sometimes I just wish I’d been born one way or the other.