Review – Eighth Grade (2018)

By Armando Vanegas 

Comedian Bo Burnham’s feature film debut Eighth Grade, a new movie about a young girl going through the last week of eighth grade, will probably make most people’s skin crawl, due to how it manages to hit so close to home depending on one’s personal childhood experiences. But it made this reviewer feel very engaged and invested for just that reason due in part to Burnham’s skills behind the camera. He makes a rather simple slice of life story as convincing enough for someone like its introverted and social media obsessed main character Kayla, played by actress Elsie Fisher. Fisher proves to have a future in movies as her role fits her like a glove. She doesn’t so much announce herself as a star in the making, so much as she quietly nudges to the person next to her and writes it in a note to pass it down the theater aisle. She finds a way to make this character both sympathetic and off-putting, sometimes in the same scene. She makes the moments of her character’s anxiety feel too real and gives a lot of unexpected tension to the proceedings. She also successfully manages to embody the feeling of alienation that one gets from that awkward time in one’s life while struggling to make a connection through social media. This is one of the ways the movie manages to subvert expectations while being more thoughtful and emotionally in-depth than most other coming of age movies.

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