Eighth Grade Film Review (2018)

So I just finished watching Bo Burnham’s first film, Eighth Grade…

This film tells the story of Kayla, a teenager entering into her last week of public school, and about to start high school. Kayla, in this week, deals with all the trappings of social anxiety, social media, and the nastiness of kids her age. Over the course of this week, she experiences pain, as well as a growing sense of confidence, and learns what it means to be a good person.

Now, full disclosure, I love Bo Burnham. Guy is a talented musician, and amazing comedian, and when I heard about this movie, I was expecting nothing but great things, because I wanted to like it.

And I’m happy to report, it lived up to my expectations. A great debut by Burnham. An incredibly honest and personal look at growing up in the 2010s.

Decent script, great characters and performances (Elsie Fisher was excellent as Kayla), good cinematography, relevant and topical ideas, amazing attention to detail, great soundtrack, etc.

This is one of the most natural and honest depictions of teenagers I have ever seen. Not hammy, overblown, and melodramatic like 13 Reasons Why (though that did get some things right), these characters felt natural and real. Bo understands what it’s like and it clearly shows.

Though I did feel like some of his dialogue was a tad over expository. The one scene where Kayla was at the party, and they had her vlog about confidence playing in the background, it felt like the point of the scene was spoonfed to me, and it made it super redundant.

Overall though, Bo outdid himself here. This was clearly a passion project and Bo poured his heart into this movie. His writing could use some polish, but his strengths outweigh his weaknesses. Having seen his earliest videos, his stand up specials, and now this, Bo has achieved so much and it makes me so happy. Recommended.

8.5 out of 10

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