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Eighth Grade takes a look at its titular time period that offers a rare and resounding ring of truth while heralding breakthroughs for writer-director Bo Burnham and captivating star Elsie Fisher.
All Critics (248)
| Top Critics (41)
| Fresh (245)
| Rotten (3)
| DVD (2)
Burnham puts you through the wringer and ensures your empathetic excruciation in scene after scene.
In addition to its queasy verisimilitude, "Eighth Grade" offers acute observations on how social media and the language of self-care have warped teen life.
Despite having the best of intentions, Hollywood would have told this story differently. Burnham keeps it real.
"Eighth Grade" aces the test.
Fisher's performance is nothing short of cringeworthy (high praise in this case). Still, the real delight is Hamilton's equally ungainly dad, who grows up faster than any of the kids in the picture.
It's rare to see a movie about middle school years that looks and sounds as right as Eighth Grade, a modest charmer... Burnham avoids most of the Mean Girls-style tropes in favor of a more gently humorous and nuanced approach.
A really, really amazing film. In fact, it's one of the best of the decade.
My brain slipped right back into middle school as I shrank down into my seat, pulled my sweater cuffs over my fingers & remembered the torture of being a 13-year-old girl.
Charming, poignant, hilarious and cringe-inducing Eighth Grade is a modern coming-of-ager made with real candour and features a spellbindingly lovable performance from Fisher.
Boasting ample empathy and just enough hope, Eighth Grade is a coming-of-age film to savour.
It's sweet, funny, endearing and everything else. I loved it.
Heartwrenching, heartwarming and disquieting in equal measure, Eighth Grade is essential viewing for the parents of today's tweens.
Itâ(TM)s a movie that achieves exactly what itâ(TM)s supposed to be, and thatâ(TM)s a small slice-of-life piece of realism in this girlâ(TM)s life. Thereâ(TM)s a lot in the movieâ(TM)s craft I really do admire. It never really feels like a movie, itâ(TM)s just a year with this girl, and thatâ(TM)s it. As such, thereâ(TM)s no real arcs, no solid narrative, just like life. There arenâ(TM)t even solid conclusions to a lot of things. Sometimes characters will just drop out of the movie, but it doesnâ(TM)t feel like the movie forgot about them in a fault of writing, it just feels like the way that certain people sometimes are just no longer in your life and itâ(TM)s not really a big dramatic thing. The movie is basically the perfect version of what it sets out to be, but did I personally like it? Well, not really. Itâ(TM)s not particularly funny aside form a couple scenes, and itâ(TM)s not particularly moving (again, aside from a couple scenes). However I do still give it a lot of props for what itâ(TM)s doing, and I think it is an important movie. It does give a unfiltered look back at that age, and that is something important, and it speaks to that age in a more realistic way than most any other movie. For anyone who knows people that age, or is that age, itâ(TM)s probably worth seeing for, if nothing else, a conversation piece.
An interesting and thoughtful look at a character that oftentimes is dismissed in movies. Funny and heartfelt, but leaves you wanting more from the story, which feels incomplete.
I'm a fan of Burnham's, so I expected a lot from this film, and he did not disappoint. Apart from a few after school special tropes in the beginning, Burnham and Fisher really capture the realism of middle schools, while hitting a lot of subtle nuances that many media portrayals of schools miss. The laughs and the cringes are plenty and welcome, as are the heartfelt moments and moments of self-discovery. I look forward to more Bo Burnham written and directed films after this great debut.
Disarmingly and impressively empathetic, writer/director Bo Burnham's Eighth Grade is brimming with heart and authenticity in every frame. It's a simple story of Kayla (the wonderful Elsie Fisher) who is weeks away from completing her middle school years and entering the summer before high school. She's terribly introverted and awkward, only able to find her voice when recording her YouTube pep talk videos. Because of the protagonist's shy nature, Burnham smartly uses the YouTube videos often as voice over to offer better insight into the kind of person Kayla would like to present herself, sometimes contrasting with the real-life version struggling to find her place and sense of self. This is an observant film that rings with authenticity with the trials and tribulations of modern teenagers in the information age, where small screens are an escape, a crutch, but also a gateway to self-discovery. Fisher is a terrific lead, perfectly capturing the understated sense of a real average teenager (acne included). Because of the introverted and ordinary nature of her, it does take a while to fully embrace her as a character. This is the one real aspect that holds back Burnham's film. You'll feel for Kayla, oh you'll feel a lot of things, but it isn't until later that you'll engage with her. Like its heroine, this is a powerfully awkward movie with several cringe-inducing moments both comic and scary. It's hard to watch at times but it feels completely relatable even with the new-fangled gadgets of the kids these days. I'm just glad I didn't grow up in the age of ever-present recording devices. It's a generous movie without an excess of quirk. In fact the movie is pretty restrained with its vision of teenage uncertainty. I did enjoy the synth wave leitmotif that would pound whenever Kayla caught sight of the boy she was crushing on, communicating the beating of her heart in a cool, modern style. The climax involves a heart-to-heart with Kayla's dad (Josh Hamilton), a man struggling to navigate the changes in his daughter and respect her privacy and curiosity. It brought tears to my eyes and, in my opinion, wipes the floor with the much-ballyhooed paternal advice from Call Me By Your Name. Burnham acquits himself nicely as a director quite well. His choices are determined by his story, and he draws out completely natural performances from his troupe of talented actors. I never would have thought this would be the kind of story a comic drenched in irony would tackle. Eighth Grade is a sincere, deeply heartfelt, and awkward movie about an awkward time most of us would like to skip. Don't skip Eighth Grade.
Nate's Grade: B+
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