Judy Blume‘s coming-of-age book Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret has finally been made into a film, which hits theaters April 28. Abby Ryder Fortson plays Margaret, a sixth-grader in 1970 who’s struggling with a new school, puberty and religion. Abby, 15, says even though the movie’s set 50 years in the past, there’s plenty for kids today to relate to.
“We have social media and the internet and all of these new things. But I think the core experience of growing up and puberty, it never really changes. It’s always going to be awkward, and messy and weird,” she tells ABC Audio. “You’ll have all of these thoughts and feelings that you don’t really know how to deal with yet.”
Director and screenwriter Kelly Fremon Craig says she set the movie in the ’70s because she wanted to remain faithful to the book. But also, she explains, “Girls today watching somebody go through the same thing that they’re going through 50 years ago is very connecting … it makes you feel that this is something we all go through.”
Blume thinks the movie is better than her book because Margaret’s parents, and her grandma, played by Kathy Bates, are full-fledged characters with their own inner lives.
As the 85-year-old Blume explains, “You couldn’t know them in the book and you didn’t need to, because that was first-person from a 12-year-old’s point of view.”
Of all the cringy puberty moments in the film, Abby said the cringiest was the scene where Margaret and her mom, played by Rachel McAdams, go bra shopping.
“I think everyone has an awkward first bra story,” she laughs. “[And the] first kiss … that’s always so awkward, God.”
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