Eighth Grade (2018)



Eighth Grade is a 2018 American comedy drama film written and directed by Bo Burnham. The coming of age story follows the life and struggles of eighth grader Kayla Day (played by Elsie Fisher), during her last week of classes before graduating to high school. She has social anxiety but makes vlogs giving life advice.

This film, which almost has a documentary feel to it, deals with subjects that many teenagers face, such as social anxiety, fitting in, bullying, body insecurity, crushes, dating and sex. The main character is an awkward fourteen year old girl, with social problems, body problems and is a loner. She isn’t really skinny, has acne, doesn’t follow trends and has trouble making friends. She has a crush on popular Aiden Wilson, in the beginning of the film, she is afraid to talk to him, but towards the middle,  she finally works up the courage to say something to him.

Upon attending a high school shadow program, she meets twelfth grader Olivia, who shows her around the school. She gets Olivia’s number and they meet up at the mall. Kayla is having a good time, until she spots her dad spying on her and embarrassed, she asks to leave. Olivia’s friend Riley gives her a ride home late that night. He starts a game of truth or dare where he asks her about her sexual experience, takes off his shirt and asks her to remove hers. She’s refuses and he stops saying he was only trying to help her gain experience. She makes a video saying she’s going to stop making videos.

She also attends a party a rich popular girl’s house, Kennedy. Kayla is invited only because Kennedy’s mother forced her to. At the party she has a nervous breakdown in the bathroom but decides to go swim, where she meets Kennedy’s weird cousin Gabe. After trying to leave the party, she bumps into her crush, Aiden, who suggests that she stay. She grows brave and decides to sing karaoke.

This film isn’t exciting at all, in fact, I found it to be rather boring. It is relatable for many people and shows the ups and downs of being a teenager for many as well. Elsie Fisher did a really good job as Kayla Day, even though she was extremely boring and oftentimes too much of a coward. It was like she didn’t know how to have fun and was really naive about mature things like sex, parties and dating.

This was more like a really dull documentary. I understood the drama aspect, but not the comedy, nothing was funny. I don’t understand why such a banal film was so acclaimed, so award ceremony material. Yes, this film is realistic and selfsame for lots and it shows the good and bad of middle and high school, but that is it, nothing outstanding, nothing really spectacular, or truly moving. It is lackluster and didn’t deserve all the praise it received. I don’t see what all the hoopla was. Average film, that seemed like a film school student directed it. Bo Burnham should stop directing. I have seen other teen films, even documentaries that actually made me feel something, this one did not, but brought me back to being an awkward teenager with social insecurity again. Boring and unoriginal.  Needs some polishing up to be great. 18+ 2/5


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