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Rotten Bananas, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret 

Himika Akram reporter  

Ever since the announcement came that they were going to make a movie based on the best-selling classics written by Judy Blume, I was dying inside to see it. Finally, the wait is over on April 28. As expected, the movie is successfully running and flooded with all the praise and love it deserves.  

Yes, the central character was a girl, but let’s not judge the book by its cover. Enough of superhero, forced horrors and action crap. Let us enjoy a story of real substance. 

The story takes place in the backdrop of the 1970s, where little Margaret is caught between the uncertainties and thrills of her family’s moving from New York City to the New Jersey suburbs. When she got back from summer camp, she found her parents packing boxes. In the middle of all this, it is her grandmother who broke the news to her. Margaret starts having mixed feelings thinking about the new place where she needs to make new friends, there would be no more huge buildings or sidewalk shops. She must be in a place where there would be shrubs and life would be much simpler.  

On top of that, another uncertainty she has is about her upcoming days; soon there will be sanitary pads, bras and God knows what else in her life. She is even feeling some changes recently. Also, she feels curious about her special feelings for the boy next door, who is more attractive than any other guy she has known back in the city.  

In the middle of all these changes in her body, mind and surroundings, there was one more change. Seems she started talking to God, about whom she had heard “a lot of good things,” even though that is not true. Margaret’s mom Barbara is Christian and her dad Herb, is of Jewish faith. Barbara was abandoned by her parents due to this marriage and they never even saw Margaret. What faith Margaret will have; their parents left that choice on Margaret to have when she turns 18. One of her teachers encouraged her to explore the world of religion just to see what she feels about it. 

So how does the movie end? Did Barbara’s parents ever want to see her? What happened to the crush of Margaret? And when those physical changes happened for Margaret, how did she handle them? 

Acting-wise Rachel McAdams was a delight to watch as always. She never disappoints though. But Abby certainly delivered a stellar performance in the character of Margaret. Her naivety and funny side of the character was shown when she praises to God – “Please don’t let New Jersey be too horrible.”  

Barbara and her relationship with her mother-in-law, which was a little antagonistic, was shown beautifully. It was common for the mom-in-laws of that time to be jealous because of the bond their daughters-in-law had with their sons and the grandchildren. The director touched upon the aspect of the limited opportunities available for women at that time. Shifting causes Barbara to leave her art-teaching gigs she used to do in NYC and now she lives the life of a stay-at-home mom; which initially she enjoyed, but soon got tiring for her. 

I would especially mention the beautiful scene later in the film in which Barbara and Margaret sit on the couch together, wrapped in each other’s arms, exchanging a few words, just sharing the experience of their lives being complicated and painful. 

Staying true to the book’s original moment is not an easy job and that is what makes it more worth watching. My personal rating of this movie would be 7/10. 

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