Photo from Variety

Eighth Grade surrounds Kayla (Elsie Fisher) last week of being in the 8th grade. Kayla makes YouTube videos giving tips to other people her age on how to be confident or how put yourself out there, but Kayla struggles to take her own advice. She’s quiet, awkward, and miserable, and just hopes that her high school experience is different from 8th grade.

When watching this film you’ll end up reminiscing about your own 8th grade experience, reliving awkward moments, and overall being so glad that you’re no longer in middle school. But this film gives you insight into what 8th graders today are going through with social media, and even though social media was around when I was in 8th grade (I think Twitter was becoming big thing then), it’s nothing to how it is now.

Elsie Fisher goes a great job as Kayla. Maybe because she is around an 8th graders age, but she was really able to capture how dramatic and awkward everything is around that age. Josh Hamilton plays Kayla’s dad and he also did a fantastic job, he may just be the perfect dad. He’s dorky, but he’s earnest and always tries to be there for Kayla.

Bo Burnham is the director of this film and is primarily known as a comedian. I was very impressed with him since this is his feature debut. I liked the technical choices he made with the music, for example whenever a cute boy Kayla had a crush on came in the music would just boom. I was also impressed that he managed to tell this intimate story and subtlety tackle some social issues as well.

There’s one scene here that I think made the film for me, and that’s a speech that Kayla’s dad gives her towards the end of the film. It was really heartwarming and something I wish I heard sometime in my own life.

With many past coming of age films or romantic comedies, the female protagonist is usually clumsy and wears glasses and finds her beautiful self through a mentor or a boy. Here though, we have a protagonist that feels real that kids and adults can relate to in some sort of capacity. The movie is rated R, mostly for some language, but if you’re in 8th grade or high school or have a kid in those grades, I would suggest checking this film out.

I give Eighth Grade an A-

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