When it comes to coming-of-age stories, no piece of literature better encapsulates the complex struggles of being a young girl better than Judy Blume’s 1970 novel Are You There, God? It’s Me Margaret. The story centers around the life of a sixth-grade girl, Margaret, who finds herself facing the biggest obstacle of her life thus far: adolescence, which comes with a wide range of emotional and physical changes. She also starts pondering some of life’s bigger questions — What is the purpose of life? Does God really exist, and do I believe in him? — which is made more complicated by her parents’ interfaith beliefs. Now, like so many others that have come before it, the book is being made into a movie adaptation (it hits theaters on April 28).
Kelly Fremon Craig, who serves as writer and director of the film, opened up to Entertainment Weekly about how impactful Blume’s work was to her while growing up and why it means so much to her to bring Blume’s vision to the big screen once and for all. “It was one of those experiences as a kid where you just are like, ‘Someone gets me now.’ I need to read absolutely everything this person does because somebody out there sees me,” Craig explained. “It was like she had a little window into my very personal, complicated thoughts and feelings and desires and was putting it all down in print. She says the unsayable. What’s so amazing about her is it feels like she told you the truth that all the adults tiptoed around.”
Needless to say, this movie is sure to be a must-see for parents and kids alike. However, it definitely isn’t the only great option out there when you’re craving a coming-of-age tale. Growing up isn’t always easy, but with films like these around, the journey to adulthood won’t feel quite so lonely.
1. CODA (2021)
This film delves into the life of a young girl, Ruby (Emilia Jones), who feels torn between helping her family and pursuing her own dreams. As the only member of her family who can hear, Ruby feels a sense of responsibility to stick around and help run the family business; however, there’s another part of her that longs to be a singer. It’s a huge dilemma to be placed on anyone — let alone a teenager — but that struggle between love and sacrifice is what makes the movie so deeply compelling.
2. The Edge of Seventeen (2016)
When you’re a teenager, your greatest source of support often comes from your friends. But what if, one day, your bestie started dating your brother? Awkward doesn’t even begin to cover it, yet it’s a reality Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) is forced to face. But while this first proves to be a total nightmare scenario, an unlikely friendship shows Nadine that sometimes life surprises you — in a good way. As an added fun fact, this film was also directed by Craig, further proving that this type of genre is definitely in her wheelhouse.
3. 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
Come for the sibling rivalry and high school antics, and stay for Heath Ledger’s iconic (and ultra-swoon-worthy) singing performance. Seriously, when it comes to teen comedies, it doesn’t get much better than this modern take on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, which centers around the Stratford sisters. Bianca (Larisa Oleynik) desperately wants to be able to go out on dates with boys — the problem is that she’s only allowed to date if her ill-tempered, anti-social sister, Kat (Julia Stiles), does. From there, a plan is concocted to pay someone to woo Kat so that Bianca can be free to indulge in her own romantic pursuits. However, things start to get complicated when real feelings get involved. By the time those credits roll, the only thing you’ll end up hating about the film is the fact that it’s over.
4. My Girl (1991)
Admittedly, the movie’s ending may be downright gut-wrenching and leave you with an eternal grudge against bees. Still, the film as a whole makes for a great coming-of-age tale about a young girl grappling with her feelings of love, death, and the complicated changes that come with growing up. It’s equal parts heartwarming and heartbreaking, while also serving as a reminder to enjoy youth while it lasts because life can change in the blink of an eye, for better or for worse.
5. Now and Then (1995)
This film offers a poignant look at the strong bonds of childhood friendships and how the lives of four young girls forever changed over the course of one unforgettable summer. Between the lessons of true sisterhood and the stacked cast of A-list stars, this movie is a must-see for kids and adults alike. Not to mention, it reunites Casper stars Christina Ricci and Devon Sawa for an albeit brief moment (hey, we’ll take what we can get).
More Movies Like Are You There, God? It’s Me Margaret
- Encanto (2021)
- Turning Red (2022)
- The Breakfast Club (1985)
- Lady Bird (2017)
- Love, Simon (2018)
- Clueless (1995)
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
- Little Women (2019)
- Easy A (2010)
- Sixteen Candles (1984)
- Some Kind of Wonderful (1987)
- Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
- Juno (2007)
- The Little Rascals (1994)
- Booksmart (2019)
- The Fault in Our Stars (2014)
- A Walk to Remember (2002)
- Superbad (2007)
- Where the Crawdads Sing (2022)
- Catherine Called Birdy (2022)
- Luca (2021)
- Pretty in Pink (1986)
- Say Anything (1989)
- Can’t Buy Me Love (1987)
- Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019)
- Dear Evan Hansen (2021)
- Dead Poets Society (1989)
- Big (1988)
- The Sandlot (1993)
- Mermaids (1990)
- A Wrinkle in Time (2018)
- The Princess Diaries (2001)
- Mean Girls (2004)
- Back to the Future (1985)
- Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
- The Last Song (2010)
- The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005)