Judy Blume Forever | Film Threat
Feb 2, 2023
SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2023 REVIEW! My first real job was working at PostWorks, a post-production house in New York City just after film school. The company was right off of Union Square and co-owned by Larry Blume, Judy Blume’s son. As a receptionist, one day I answered the phone, and it was Judy Blume. I froze in glee because on the other end of the line was the voice of a woman whose books guided me through the roughest time in my young adult life, and she was speaking to me, if only for a moment. As I sat and watched directors Davina Pardo and Leah Wolchok’s documentary Judy Blume Forever, I realized that I was not the only one who felt Blume was their therapist. Thousands of people clearly also felt that way. Many of them wrote to Blume at one point or another.
Pardo and Wolchok’s testament to the modern-day writer enshrines her and ensures that Blume’s legacy, thankfully, will now live on forever. The filmmakers do not miss a beat in their ability to provide the world with the importance, bravery, and gift that is Judy Blume. As the author’s story unfolds from finding her path as a writer and her ability to thrive in life, we learn about the roadblocks that existed for a woman who wanted to share her stories, unlike anyone before her.
Judy Blume Forever explains that being Jewish, in the 1940s and 50s, getting a divorce because she never fit the 1950s housewife image, writing about taboo subjects, and standing strong against critics and the uneducated masses, made Blume an icon. She forged ahead with grace and decorum even when so many tried to stop her. Throughout the film, we learn about an unbelievable amount of young people Blume helped through her stories providing a sense of sanity and clarity to develop as humans. These people had no one else to confide in or connect with on issues and thoughts that needed explaining.
“…provide[s] an overview of Blume’s writings and popularity…”
Crazy enough, Blume’s book were banned 50 years ago. But that did not stop readers from finding her books. Today, being prohibited again will hopefully not stop them. As we live with a pandemic and a world of mental instability, her relevance is more important than ever. She provides answers or, at the very least, an ear. The author influenced the likes of Molly Ringwald and Lena Dunham, to name a few who show up with their large stack of Blume books. Several others share their Blume experience from being a pen pal. Blume had room for us all, adding great humor, beauty, and love at every turn. Yale University has all the letters in its archive for safekeeping.
Judy Blume Forever sprinkles the narration and interviews with charming animation filled with zinnias and other inviting elements. An abundance of archival images, talk show appearances, articles, and book signings, provide an overview of Blume’s writings and popularity that affected legions. And not just young adult readers but also those into her adult novels. Her coming-of-age books provided freedom of thought and feminist values for handling a harsh world, in detail, much to the chagrin of some. Blume shares the controversy that continues, including her writing adult novels.
From Blume’s bookstore in Key West, Florida, to following her around New York City for the 50th anniversary of Are You There God It’s Me, Margaret? there isn’t a moment lost. Everything here is something that you wanted to see or know. Author Judy Blume had a profound effect on many a young girl and boy’s life and adults whether you read one of her books or all of them. Judy Blume Forever is a testament to why.
Judy Blume Forever screened at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.
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