Eighth Grade (2018)

  • Gist: Kayla somehow survives her final week of middle school.
  • Bananas: When all that matters is being liked and accepted, plus Baby’s First Hormones, you go to some nutty lengths to make it happen.
  • Dorky Dad: Kayla has only one parent, but he’s a great parent, which helps with the emotional roundness and final hopefulness of the film, although the real hell of adolescence is for kids who don’t have at least one great parent.
  • Dialogue: Bo Burnham’s script captures the stopped-up pathos of teen-teen and teen-dad attempts to express the truth without risking injury.
  • Face: Keeping the camera right in this child’s face, Burnham makes us feel the lack of privacy coupled with isolation that marks Gen Z’s childhood while letting Elsie Fisher explain its self-doubt and social anxiety with her forehead. Oscars, please!
  • Me Too: There’s a non-explicit scene that gives us some important things to talk about, unless you’re into simplistic generalities and blanket rules that don’t help at all.
  • Rating: Reportedly Bo Burnham wishes he had cut the film with a PG-13 rating; it has a handful of uses of that one word that, ironically, is considered especially offensive. But nothing here is inappropriate for 13+ year olds, unless you think adolescence itself should be Restricted to 17+.
  • Music: British e-pop star Anna Meredith came up with an awesome score.

Conclusion: You’ll love it.