Hopefully, we’ll see, this is going to be one of my shorter reviews because really even saying anything that happens in EIGHTH GRADE is a bit of a spoiler. Because the movie is a very tight and lean 90 minutes, and when looking back at the trailer, I feel that even it gives too much away. All you really need to know about this movie, is that its about a girl named Kayla that is one week from finishing eighth grade, that star Elsie Fisher (she’s not really a newcomer, she’s been in a couple of things and is the voice of Agnes in the Despicable Me movies) is a revelation, and that stand up comedian/actor Bo Burnham wrote and directed this. Yes, THAT Bo Burnham. The one that does all those jokes and shit while playing the piano. He was also recently in Rough Night and The Big Sick. His debut here is nothing short of astonishing.
Eighth Grade perfectly captures and depicts the school experience the most realistically that I have seen in any school film/television show/entertainment format that I can remember. Yes, even more realistic that 13 Reasons Why. And the realistic aspect that 13 Reasons Why even captured in Season 1 was almost completely thrown out the window in season 2. The entire time watching this film I was taken back to my very awkward and embarrassing middle school years. This film hit every right note I can think of to that experience, and it even goes one further and enhances it to our more tumultuous times as of recently, including sexual harassment and extreme bullying. I don’t know what actress Elsie Fisher is like in real life, but in this, she is extraordinary. I really don’t think she is playing herself, and if she isn’t, she is that good. Every like, uh, stumble in her speech felt completely real, that by near when the 90 minutes are over, when her and her dad are having what is basically a fire side chat, I had a lump in my throat, because I really felt for her character of Kayla.
Also, the father, played by Josh Hamilton (not of Texas Ranger fame), is also fantastic as the dad. His reactions and his speeches to his daughter felt so real and honest that he almost, ALMOST, pushed that lump in my throat to tears streaming down my face. This movie is fantastic, and if you haven’t heard of it (although that would be weird, it is being heavily marketed as the independent film of the summer), you need to skip watching the trailer and just find a movie theater near you that is playing it and trust me on this. It is better than seeing shitty unrealistic drivel and shit like The Spy Who Dumped Me. Bo Burnham’s eye for the camera and the dialogue in his script are breathtaking, and if he has to take a break from acting or doing his stand up routine to give us more films like this, I’ll embrace it with open arms.