I absolutely adore Twitter.
I love it most when it’s one of those right place, right time situations and I see a tweet about an event happening in New York City. One of the latest examples was seeing a preview of Tiger Eyes at The JCC on April 25. Tiger Eyes is the first full-length film from literary icon Judy Blume, and while I never read Tiger Eyes as a child, I have loved Judy since I first read Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret, Fudge-a-mania, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Forever, Summer Sisters… I could go on for awhile.
It’s kind of crazy to think that Judy Blume has been publishing her work since 1969 and her fans have yet to see her work on the big screen. But after hearing her talk on that rainy evening in April, it made sense. She was waiting for the right opportunity. That moment came when she was able to co-write the screenplay with her son, Lawrence Blume — who also took on the role of director.
Tiger Eyes is a story about dealing with grief and moving forward. Main character Davey and her little brother are uprooted from their home in Atlantic City, New Jersey to New Mexico by their mother after their dad is killed in a robbery. In New Mexico, Davey’s aunt and uncle swoop in to take parental responsible while their mom wrestles with her new reality and Davey and her little brother come to terms with a longer stay in New Mexico than they thought. There’s first love, new friendships, family challenges and more.
Grief is universal. You never know when you are going to experience it. – JB
Lawrence and Judy were very mindful of the fans when it came to filming the movie; they made sure to include small details (including a certain snack) and aimed to stay “emotionally true to the story and the characters.” The actors are a little older, a cell phone makes a cameo, and Native American culture is even more present in the movie, but otherwise Tiger Eyes, touching without being over the top, is a great tribute to the 1981 novel.
I cried. A lot.
(Apparently Judy Blume cries every time she sees it too so I’m in good company.)
Filmed on location in New Mexico, the stills from the movie are gorgeous and Willa Holland as Davey is so naturally beautiful with the most expressive eyes. She’s basically in every scene of the movie and authentically transitions between this girl mourning the loss of her dad and also learning to come into her own when she feels the loneliest. The music, handpicked by Lawrence and featuring all female singers, punctuates these months of discover for Davey and felt so right.
It’s a movie for my nostalgia readers. – JB
Here are a few other tidbits Lawrence and Judy shared during the post-movie Q+A:
→ Tiger Eyes is Lawrence’s favorite book of his mom’s. It meant a lot to him especially since he moved from New Jersey to New Mexico when he was a kid too.
→ Judy calls the actual filming of the movie “the best experience of her life.”
→ After the movie marketing is over (which they are doing entirely by themselves), Judy is going to hopefully finish a book she has been writing since 2009. In the future, Lawrence would love to do a movie adaption of Summer Sisters. (This made my heart almost burst.)
→ In the past, Judy did have offers to make her books into movies but nothing ever felt right.
→ Best quip I have EVER heard about movies from books: “A book is a book and a movie is a movie.” THANK YOU.
I am still a little starstruck from this whole experience because I never thought I would be in such close proximity to Judy Blume in my life. But I have to say this — never have I seen a more gracious, enthusiastic, and utterly lovely author. She was incredibly patient with everyone that asked questions, so excited about her movie, so professional with her son, and even convinced one of the hosts of the event to go back and get a few more questions from the audience. She seems so amazingly down to earth and eager to connect with fans. That’s something I’ll definitely hold dear.
Tiger Eyes is officially out in select theaters and on-demand today, June 7, and there are multiple ways you can find out about it: