Andrea’s Angle | “Judy Blume Forever” – A Revelation
I don’t think there is anyone of my age that didn’t grow up with Judy Blume. Her books and writing were groundbreaking and instrumental to so many on their path to adulthood. My hope was that the documentary would reveal truths about Judy Blume and that the film would reveal who she is to a new generation. After watching the movie, I can say unequivocally that the film revealed truths I’d never even asked about Judy Blume, and the documentary was one of the best-written films I’ve ever seen.
Judy Blume Forever is a documentary film centered around author Judy Blume, directed by Davina Pardo and Leah Wolchok. The documentary covers the life, career, and legacy of Judy Blume, including her experiences with her books being banned and the current state of free speech in the United States. It follows her path from suburban housewife to famous novelist of young adult fiction, using interviews with Blume, both new and old, archival documents, and testimonials about Blume’s impact from actors like Molly Ringwold, Lena Dunham and Anna Konkle, comedian Samantha Bee, and authors Mary H. K. Choi and Jacqueline Woodson.
One of the best elements is the revelations that emerge in the exploration of Judy Blume’s life. There are many reasons how and why she became so impactful and influential. One of the truths is that she wanted children to hear the truth from adults because that was a missing element in her own childhood. That desire to tell the truth, led her to make books that were honest and groundbreaking. The documentary also reveals truths about her family and relates facts that explain her ability to connect to children. Her life, her skill in recalling her own childhood, and her ability to create novels that relate to young adults are explained in this film.
One of the many ways that the film uses to provide those revelations is through interviews with Judy herself. Not only does the film pull from archival television appearances that give viewers glimpses of younger Judy Blume, but we also are given film clips of Judy Blume today as she provides insight into her books, her passion related to censorship, and readings of her own novels, as she explains the themes she wrote into the books. Her words reveal, at most, a wonderfully kind woman who connected with her readers in a way very few writers do.
We also hear from those impacted by her writing, actors, and other writers but also readers. We hear from them how Judy Blume’s work and words influenced them and how she explored themes of puberty, identity, female sexuality, periods, divorce, bullying, parental expectations, and loss. Those speaking revealed the many ways those themes led them to embrace their own identities and learn. It also reveals the many ways Judy Blume reached out to her readers and gave of her time and energy to help them.
What the documentary really shows is how empowering Judy Blume’s books and novels were for several generations of children. She is still impacting children with themes that are timeless. The film shows how amazing a person she is while also detailing her honesty about her writing and her life. Her absolute dedication to the truth led to books that are the road to young adult fiction as we know it today, and this film shares why she is one of the most influential writers of our time. I learned unexpected truths about her, but most of all, it reminded me how wonderful her books are and how much her books meant to me.
If you ever read even one book by Judy Blume, you should watch this documentary. The truths it reveals and the time spent with Judy herself will enhance your understanding of her books and her life. It will connect with you emotionally and resonate with viewers. It captures the truth about an amazing woman, a wonderful author. It made me want to read all her books all over again. It was a delight meeting and learning about Judy Blue, the author that forever impacted millions of children.
Rating: 5 out of 5 books
Official Website: Judy Blume Forever
Judy Blume Forever
Generations of readers have found themselves in a Judy Blume book. Her name alone launches a flood of memories for anyone who’s gripped one of her many paperbacks. For decades, Blume’s radical honesty has comforted and captivated readers – and landed her at the center of controversy for her frankness about puberty and sex. Now the beloved American author candidly shares her own coming-of-age story.
Emmy-winning filmmakers Davina Pardo and Leah Wolchok trace Blume’s journey from fearful, imaginative child to storytelling pioneer who elevated the physical and emotional lives of kids and teens, to banned writer who continues to fight back against censorship today. Playful and poignant animations celebrate the magic and awkwardness of being young, while intimate conversations with acclaimed authors and artists reveal Blume’s profound impact on readers. Long-standing fans share open-hearted letters they wrote to Blume over decades.
With humor, sensitivity, and a healthy dose of adolescent cringe, Judy Blume Forever tells the story of the woman whose trail-blazing books changed the way millions of readers understand themselves, their sexuality, and what it means to grow up.
JUDY BLUME FOREVER launches globally on Prime Video on April 21, 2023.