Friday, August 17, 2018

Movie review of “Eighth Grade” by Colby Willis

It's rare to find a movie so authentic and compelling as “Eighth Grade”, the directorial debut of
standup comedian Bo Burnham.

Kayla Day, portrayed by Elsie Fisher, is a young girl on her way to graduating from middle school, and in her final week goes on a self-actualizing journey towards adulthood.

When I entered the theater, I was under the impression that I was about to watch a quality comedy that reflects the high reviews it has been getting online. However, there was something else to the film; a coming of age story both unique and relatable. It was not a comedic romp as I had expected, but a dive into the mind of a young woman who was unsure of who she was.

Throughout the film, Burnham managed to display the silliness, awkwardness and horror that comes with being an insecure eighth grader. An expansive cast shows different interactions that echoed my own past.

Well meaning, but awkward, parenting as well as popular kids who are mean for no real reason along with a barrage of other struggles are depicted in so realistic a fashion that it is hard not to wince out of sympathy for the lead.

Burnham successfully filled the theater with laughter and fear, while passing on a message of growth.
Even with the dense narrative that takes place over the last week of the school year, the film managed to stave off any pretentious airs and remains a fun, awkward, genuine story. If you are looking for a nostalgic flick for the modern era, I can wholeheartedly recommend Burnham's fantastic first film, “Eighth Grade”.

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