Eighth Grade: Film Review

Eighth Grade has been receiving rave reviews since it began the film festival rounds early last year. I became even more desperate to see it when writer/director Bo Burnham and star Elsie Fisher started receiving recognition during awards season and I can now confirm it was worth the wait, although it should have been released here months ago.

Eighth Grade basically just follows teenager Kayla (Fisher) and her struggles at school. She is very shy and quiet and has barely any friends so she devises a plan to become more popular and confident.

Fisher was outstanding and I am not surprised she received a Golden Globe nomination. Her acting was so natural, felt so true and realistic and she was very funny and moving all at once. It didn’t feel like she was acting at all and you really felt for her and hoped she would realise that she didn’t need to change herself. She also had great support from Josh Hamilton as her dad Mark, who doesn’t know what to do with her or how to help her, and Emily Robinson as Olivia, an older student who befriends Kayla.

Burnham’s screenplay was impressive and just felt so accurate in its depiction of 13-14-year-olds right now, from how they behave to how they treat their parents, interact with their phones and social media and their peers. It felt so well observed and Burnham really captured that awkward way teens speak, so much so that I figured it was mostly improvised (it wasn’t).

Eighth Grade is very funny, with awkward swim parties and Kayla’s uncomfortable YouTube advice videos (“Gucci!”), but that makes the dramatic moments hit even harder. There are some really touching scenes and you really feel for Kayla.

Eighth Grade goes up against Avengers: Endgame this week, which is actually perfect scheduling because they couldn’t be more different. This is delightful, a rare gem and Fisher is a star in the making. Please go support it!

In selected cinemas Friday 26th April 

(Rating: 4/5)

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