Yeah, I’m going for a clickbait title, what are you gonna do about it? You’re reading this so obviously it worked. So strap in and get ready to have me just absolutely gush over Eighth Grade.
Eighth Grade is the directorial debut of comedian Bo Burnham and was also written by him. It follows the story of Kayla as she tries to navigate the final week(s?) in middle school and it is a masterpiece.
My immediate comparison would be Lady Bird from last year and if you’ve like ever had a conversation with me about that movie you know that it’s pretty much the highest praise I can give. I go to Lady Bird as a comparison for a bunch of reasons, the first and most obvious being that there are some marked similarities between the two. They both follow young women trying to navigate a new world while also struggling to come to terms with who they are. Both movies focus on the somewhat strained relationship between the main character and a parent, and both movies feature top of the line performance from their lead characters. Seriously Elsie Fisher is an absolute force on screen and has a very bright career ahead of her.
While these things are all great, what for me makes Eighth Grade such a phenomenal piece of film is the dialogue which again I have to tip my hat to Bo Burnham for his work writing it. The dialogue perfectly fits into the story the movie is trying to tell while also being 100% faithful to how teenagers really talk. Trust me, there is nothing but 13-17-year-old kids at my job right now and it’s dead on. It’s just so awkward and cringy like there is one scene involving truth or dare and it was easily the most uncomfortable scene I’ve watched all year, and it’s supposed to be because you look at all the characters faces and they’re all just sooo uncomfortable. I don’t know about you, but being oppressively uncomfortable was definitely a hallmark of my adolescence.
I also love how this movie goes about its story in such a simple way. There were a bunch of times I made mental notes about how plain the cinematography was. Now that may have not been intentional and the result of a rookie director, but I definitely thought that it was an intentional decision to keep the focus really squared on the character of Kayla, the movie is all about her and her struggles so there is absolutely no need to distract from that.
Another little detail I wanted to point out was the decision to make the main character believe in God, it plays a very minor role within the story, but it was interesting to me to see.
I’m sorry if I’m a bit rambly and gushing too hard about this thing, but I literally just got out it and I loved it so much that I just had to start writing about it immediately. I cannot recommend this movie enough to people although I suppose I should point out that there are several (like 5-6ish) F-bombs and that’s why this movie is rated R which I think sucks, it would be much better if actual eighth graders could go see this movie because I think it’d be really good for them to have something they can relate so closely to. But yeah, this is a definite top shelf kind of movie and I can’t wait to be unreasonably upset when it doesn’t win every award next year. Later.