Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret (2023) Ending Explained – Why does Margaret talk to God?

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret Plot Summary

Based on the children’s book by Judy Blume and directed by Kelly Fremon Craig (The Edge of Seventeen), Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret tackles themes of religion and puberty. The coming-of-age drama follows 11-year-old Margaret (Abby Ryder Fortson) as her family moves from New York to New Jersey. As she faces making new friends at a new school, the sudden changes in her life cause a lot of spiritual searching, but the religious divides in her family make that difficult.


Why does Margaret talk to God?

After returning from summer camp, Margaret’s parents Barbara (Rachel McAdams) and Herb (Benny Safdie) spring the news that they’re moving to New Jersey. Margaret hates the idea of leaving her grandmother Sylvia (Kathy Bates) and all her friends. Her anxieties propel her to talk to God, despite having been raised with no religion.

After her teacher Mr. Benedict (Echo Kellum) encourages her to think about writing a research paper about religion, Margaret goes on a deeper spiritual search. She continues to talk to God about everything, from help with family and friend matters to anxieties about puberty. She goes to Temple with her grandma and church with her friends. But she doesn’t find God in either of these places. It eventually occurs to her that she feels God the most when she’s alone and able to talk to him about all her private hopes and fears.


Why do Margaret’s parents raise her without religion?

Margaret’s parents raised her without religion because of their own parents’ religious fervor and prejudices. When Barbara (raised Christian) decided to marry Herb (raised Jewish), her Christian parents cut ties with her. When Margaret was born, Barbara and Herb decided to raise her without religion and let her choose for herself when she’s an adult.


Does Margaret choose a religion?

Barbara eventually decides to try to reconnect with her parents. But when they visit, they only try to pressure Margaret into going to church. They fight with Sylvia over whether Margaret is Christian or Jewish.

Instead of letting Margaret step in, Barbara and Herb declare that she’s neither and can choose when she’s grown up. Margaret can’t stand not having her own voice anymore. She yells at everyone that she doesn’t even believe in God and storms upstairs.

Margaret’s pessimism is apparent in the paper she turns in to Mr. Benedict, but she starts to rediscover God and spirituality through different life experiences. When she’s alone and she needs someone to help her through life’s trials (like realizing she treated a classmate too harshly) and joys (like finally getting her period at the end of the film)–it’s God she can turn to. She doesn’t choose a religion, but she doesn’t need to.


What is the message of ‘Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret’?

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret says a lot about the feelings of loneliness during puberty, about bodily autonomy, and about the freedom of choice.

When it comes to religion, the point isn’t what religion Margaret chooses, but that she should get to choose. Margaret needed to talk to God because she needed someone unbiased to reflect her turbulent coming-of-age experiences off of, and her family was too wrapped up in religious prejudices to provide that. Kids, both Craig and Blume submit, deserve the space and freedom to be their own person.

 

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