Eighth Grade

Thirteen-year-old Kayla endures the tidal wave of contemporary suburban adolescence as she makes her way through the last week of middle school — the end of her thus far disastrous eighth-grade year.

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I was pretty excited to see Eighth Grade for 3 specific reasons. The first being that I essentially trust A24 with my life at this point.  Second, I was already a fan of Bo Burnham, and think he is immensely talented.  And Third, I love to see films that are of subject matter that you don’t see everyday.  There are hardly any films about the Eighth Grade, most likely because it’s not a glamorous time in anyone’s life.  This movie embraces this, and is a triumphant and inspiring debut from Bo Burnham.

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This entire film revolves around its star: Elsie Fisher.  She is the heartbeat here, the film doesn’t work without her performance.  She takes this movie to another level thanks to the attention to detail that her performance has.  Her dad played by Josh Hamilton is also fantastic.  There is some fantastic chemistry between them.  Burnham doesn’t do anything flashy with his direction, but insteads work to build his narrative.  There is a white knuckling scene in a car that will absolutely tear you apart.  When you can experience that, and then be laughing at something else 5 minutes later, the director has done his job quite well.

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My one complaint about the film, is the way it is structured makes it feel a bit choppy at times.  Other than that, I couldn’t have had a better time with this movie.  Films usually tend to stray away from subject matter that seems uninteresting or un-appealing to audiences.  However, Eighth Grade takes the challenge head on, and delivers a wholly satisfying portrait of the most confusing time in a lot people’s lives.

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