Eighth Grade: An Endearing Look at the Oft Hated Time

In Uncategorized on August 3, 2018 at 21:09


from: https://www.slashfilm.com/eighth-grade-trailer/

Sometimes we need others to mirror our qualities to us. Luckily, Kayla, played with natural realism by Elsie Fisher, has a dad Mark Day played by Josh Hamilton, to remind her how ‘cool’ she is. Kayla has a video channel where she shares life advice. We quickly learn that her advice is as much for herself as it is other kids her age. And we see scenes where she takes, and fails to take, the advice she doles out. 

Kayla is a regular kid. There is nothing remarkable about her. She has the insecurities, fears, faults, and problems most kids that age have. Sure, she’s a white kid in a mainly economically secure situation, but not all kids grow up questioning their sexual preferrence (she clearly likes boys), or have to deal with gangs, or drug addled parents. And before you get started, my favorite film of 2016 was Moonlight. It was naturalistic in the same way Eighth Grade is. 

Eighth Grade shows how middle school is a struggle for everyone, and how the kids who act cool, are faking it. Kayla’s attempts to be cool, i.e. not genuine, fall flat and she eventually learns from the failure with the popular kids. 

What is also endearing about Eighth Grade is that Kayla, unlike Lady Bird, is not stereotypically attractive. So her insecurities around boys holds more weight than some films. She’s also not misshappen, a genius, popular, she doesn’t find a dead body, she doesn’t see a creepy clown. She’s a decent girl with a good heart whom we sympathize with. 

Eighth Grade is well crafted and has the perfect scope for a film. And it didn’t take them twelve years to make! Amazing it could be so much better than that other film that took so long. 

Rating: Pay Full Price!
If only director and writer Bo Burnham had thrown in a younger brother with brain tumor, a mentally unstable parent, or more bullying, I could have rated it higher. Go see it.

Tex Shelters

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