Director – Bo Burnham (feature debut)
Cast – Elsie Fisher, Josh Hamilton, Emily Robinson, Daniel Zolghadri, Jake Ryan
Plot – Young girl Kayla (Fisher) tries to navigate her final days of Eighth Grade life and prepare herself for a new world as a High School student.
“Growing up can be a little bit scary and weird”
Review by Eddie on 25/01/2018
Who would’ve thought that one of the most quintessential teen movies of the modern era would be directed by a 28 year old first time feature filmmaker?
I’m guessing not too many, but thanks to one time Youtube sensation turned stand-up comedy genius Bo Burnham, Eighth Grade is very much that film.
An eye-opening, honest and often downright hilariously on point examination of what it means to grow up in our modern era of phones, standards and a general lack of childlike ignorance, Eighth Grade is that raw type of film that just totally gets and understands its subject matter and thanks to this, should be both compulsory viewing for teenagers and for their parents, that are in many ways likely ignorant regarding what the modern landscape entails for their offspring.
Showing incredible skill as both a writer and director and a skill as a director of actors, Burnham knocks it out of the park with his unwaveringly frank look at Elsie Fisher’s Kayla’s last days in her eighth grade, before moving onto the daunting and hard to fathom high school year’s.
A large part of why Eighth Grade works so well on many levels outside of Burnham’s pinpoint accuracy is Fisher’s work in front of the camera.
A lovingly nervy and well-intentioned creation who lives with her single parent father and lives a life outside of a large friendship group, Kayla is a creation that we can all relate to in some way as she try’s her best to fit in and navigate a pathway for herself to move in where she can be who she is and be happy in doing so.
It feels as though Fischer is Kayla and Kayla is Fischer, as the two become one and create one of the most relatable and insightful teenage creations in some time.
As Kayla looks to impress the boy she has a crush on, get through unscathed at a popular pool party or make friends with older teenagers, we feel her every emotion, happy, sad, nervous or otherwise thanks to the films almost documentary like realness that is inhabited so well by Fischer.
For all the fun and insight to be had from the film, Eighth Grade also deals with some heavy and dramatic situations that may be confronting to some viewers but you feel, if anything, Burnham held back from going too raw and honest for some and viewers scared of the subject matters dealt with here shouldn’t be afraid to let their teenagers watch a film that is made for them and important for them to see.
Final Say –
Eighth Grade is one of the year’s most important films, a standout in the independent offerings available and a must watch for those moving into their teenage years. With this debut, Burnham has well and truly established himself as a director to keep a very close eye on moving forward.
4 large selections of dipping sauces out of 5