Growing up is hell. Judy Blume made it better. Now, a new documentary seeks to give back to Blume some of what she has given us.
Blume, author of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, Blubber, Superfudge, and a million other books you’d recognize the covers for, is the cross-generational voice of what it’s like to grow up as a girl; what it’s like to go through the gulag that is puberty, or the awkwardness of sex. Blume is a constant force for good, for helping young people try to understand a little bit about what’s going on in their brains and bodies.
She is also the subject of a new film Judy Blume Forever, which traces Blume’s own coming-of-age story from a fearful child with limitless imagination, to wildly successful author, to banned writer who continues the fight against censorship, even at the age of 85. Directed by Davina Pardo and Leah Wolchok, the film premiered at Sundance earlier this year, where it was praised for its effortless hipness.
“I grew up as a good girl with a bad girl lurking inside,” Blume says in the trailer. “I could be fearless in my writing in a way that I maybe wasn’t always in my life.”
The documentary positions Blume as the kind of cool aunt everyone wishes they had: the one they could talk to about sex and crushes and how to grow your boobs. Her biggest works, including everything from Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret to Summer Sisters are highlighted, but it also includes interviews with current middle schoolers, as well some of the famous women inspired by Blume’s work — superfans like Anna Konkle, whose Pen15 is certainly Blume-inspired along with Lena Dunham, Molly Ringwald, Mary H.K. Choi, Jason Reynolds, and Samantha Bee.
“She allowed young women to be as complicated and messy and funny as we are,” Dunham says, while Molly Ringwald adds: “Everything I learned about sex and crushes, I learned from Judy.”
It also highlights the many longtime fans who have corresponded with Judy — some of them for years — via handwritten letters, receiving personal advice from Blume.
“Kids opened up to me in a way that they couldn’t to their parents and I would answer,” Blume says, showing a storage box filled with handwritten letters that she tears up at upon seeing — a physical embodiment of how much she meant to people.
Judy Blume Forever is on Amazon Prime Video on April 21. In the meantime, you can watch the trailer, below.