Adapted and directed by Kelly Fremon Craig (2016’s outstanding ‘The Edge of Seventeen’), this long-awaited adaptation of Judy Blume’s groundbreaking 1970 novel is an absolute joy from start to finish. Craig’s gift for telling a great story superbly well, without neglecting the little things that provide some much-appreciated realism (look for the priceless scene at a drug store checkout) elevates the film from Afterschool Special status to a stand-out coming-of-age movie. Yes, it, feels a little watered-down from the excellent book (how could it not?), but outstanding performances all around (including Abby Ryder Fortson in the lead) help it feel like an answered prayer.

4/5 stars