Eigth Grade Movie Review
Eigth Grade Movie Review Metadata
Middle school, perhaps the most awkward time in adolescence. There’s the uncomfortableness of bodies and voices changing, the joys of acne, the highs and, more often, lows of seeing the same/opposite sex in a different light, and the endless desire to feel accepted. Today, kids now have the added pressures that social media brings to an already difficult time.
Many coming of age movies have highlighted this stressful period including critically acclaimed Kids (1995) and Thirteen (2013), but Bo Burnham’s directorial debut, EIGHTH GRADE (2018) provides the rawest and most honest portrayal yet.
Newcomer Elsie Fisher stars as Kayla, a girl who desperately wants to fit in but battles social anxiety and her peers’ perception of her being the quietest person in the grade. Being raised by her single father, Kayla, like many kids today, spends too much time on social media, using it to measure her popularity based on the number of likes and comments she has on YouTube, Instagram and Twitter or reviewing and liking others’ posts. In her free time, Kayla creates motivational videos about being yourself, putting yourself out there, and other good life lessons that she is open to speaking about on camera but yet too afraid to execute in real life.
Burnham, despite being a late-twenties male, successfully captures the difficulties of growing up today – a time in which much of what is seen on social media is simply a highlight reel rather than the real world. Take the classmate who appears to have woken up looking beautiful, but, in reality, spent an hour doing her hair and makeup and taking dozens of pictures to find the right angle. Or the other classmate who humblebrags about being so tired from their two-week vacation abroad. Mix in social media putting a spotlight on being odd man out and you have the perfect recipe for kids feeling bad about themselves. Before social media, kids came home after school and the only way they knew what friends and classmates were up to was if they talked to someone. Today, it’s easy to see oneself being excluded by others posting pics of the amazing time they’re having with one another.
Eighth Grade will make you thankful you’re no longer that age, especially as you cringe and groan from middle school flashbacks. And, while it’s likely a movie that most will only choose to see once, it’s an important movie to see for parents as it successfully demonstrates what today’s youth is up against on a daily basis.
Eighth Grade is Rated R for language and some sexual material