Rob Reviews "Eighth Grade"
I cannot even imagine how life would be if I had the technology around today when I was in my formative years. With the number of distractions kids have today combined to the access of knowledge that comes with it, it seems like each generation wants the next to grow up faster and faster. Add to this the speed at which the technology moves and it is easy to fall behind. When making “Eighth Grade,” one of the aspects of comedian/writer/director Bo Burnham had to change was having his cast communicate via Facebook, and when told that “no one uses Facebook” (which made it into the script that way), he had to alter it to fit what the current group of adolescents is actually using.
With a script that centers around Kayla Day (Elsie Fisher) and her chaotic last week of middle school, I was amazed on how much I actually identified with “Eighth Grade”. Even with her series of videos, Instagram posts, Snapchat pictures, and more, the themes of simply trying to find where one fits into the larger social picture at a time where EVERYTHING is changing is one that is universal no matter the generation. Fisher is nothing short of brilliant here with no only her delivery of Burnham’s dialogue but also simply to convey what Kayla is going through on every level. There were multiple moments during this film where I found myself almost holding my breath as she deals with mean girls, trying to impress here crush, and even simply trying to understand her relationship with her father. As a bit of an oddball myself in those pre-teen years (who am I kidding; I am still that way), I found myself going back to specific moments in time as I was going to a decent-sized fish in a decent-sized pond into the game changer that was high school. I will say this: I wish there was a “shadow day” like is featured in “Eighth Grade”… or do I?
A big hit at a number of film festivals (including Sundance and even at our own Dallas International Film Festival), Burnham has truly delivered script that hits home no matter who you may have been back in those days and may still be today. My hope is that this film gets to as large of an audience as possible so it can truly be appreciated in the way that it should be, so get yourself a hall pass (much like we did at the screening I attended) and spend about an hour and a half with “Eighth Grade”!