Eighth Grade Review

Hannah Edelheit, Website Editor

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The new coming of age movie Eighth Grade is relatable and funny. It can take us all back to a time of awkward cringe moments we wished we would never have to experience again. This movie is worth seeing because it can relate to the present day teen.

      I loved this movie because it represented, for me at least, a modern growing up story for my generation.

     It is important because it gives teens a platform to talk about mental health issues that affect the transitioning time to becoming a young adult. This movie is a great film for anybody looking for a feel good movie to look back on the times of eighth grade.

      Eighth grade starts out with a young girl named Kayla (Elsie Fisher) just trying to make it through her last week of being an eighth grader.As she moves through her last week we learn that she is funny and witty as well as shy and quiet. She embodies a time that everyone goes through: being a pre-teen. The pre-teen years are about as awkward and awful as they come and Eighth Grade does great job at showing all of the silly, crazy, and heartwarming moments of becoming a young adult.

     The movie shows Kayla making videos about becoming empowered through self-confidence; however, she is the exact opposite in real life. She is shy and walks with her head down low.

   We see her try to make friends and become more popular as well as go through common things like crushes and an awkward social life.

     Bo Burnham, the writer and director of  Eighth Grade, started his career on youtube making funny videos. Burnham wanted to be able to relate with students that had the anxiety of being an adolescent.
      “‘ I was feeling a very acute anxiety from my job of performing’ he said in an National Public Radio On July 18. ‘And then I would talk about those problems in that circumstance onstage and afterwards kids- 14-13 year-old girls – would come up to me and say, ‘I know exactly what you’re going through. I’m going through it, too”’.

      About two times in the movie Kayla has a panic attack about being social or her true self. As a teenage girl growing up in a world where there is a constant pressure if you don’t look or act a certain way, I understand her pressure. I was able to identify with Kayla’s character because having an anxiety of this type was something I experienced in middle school.

      When we first see Kayla get access to the internet she purposefully likes photos in hopes of getting likes back. That totally relates back to our teenage society today because it is all about how many instagram followers you have. People always feel the need to post those cute pictures that have a nice image or message underneath it to show how popular they are.

      Burnham has interesting shots of Kayla scrolling through her phone throughout the movie. We see her looking at her phone and a translucent image of her phone screen is set up behind her looking at what pictures she is liking.

      I feel Burnham did a great job portraying the idea that every kid has fears whether big or small. He shows Kayla at a pool party and just before she goes out to talk to everyone she is in a bathroom having a panic attack. We hear her heavy breathing and her vision becomes blurry. In most high school movies we do not see that side of a character. The older high school movies show a kid being bullied and then that’s it. There is no scene where the audience is inside the characters head.   

       This film was able to bring that idea of self discovery and the fear that comes along with it to life. As Kayla put it, “You need to face your fears and let people know the real you.”


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