How many times did you wish you could go back to school and punch that one mean girl in the throat or at least embarrass her beyond belief?
With ‘coming of age’ films like ‘Lady Bird’ or even back to ‘American Pie’ or ‘Pretty in Pink, most shine a spotlight on adolescent growing pains and the drama that comes alongside it. Now, we have Eighth Grade, which sheds light on the time prior to high school, where fitting in is difficult at best. With the internet and smart phones, flirting with boys and being the ‘cool kid’ has taken on a whole new level. A level that makes even the most confident parent a nervous wreck.
Written and directed by Bo Burnham, this film focuses on the final year before high school kicks in and speaks volumes with respect to the pressures of being a pre-teen and how so many of our kids find that pressure so unbearable that they commit suicide to permanently dull the pain. Eighth Grade unapologetically addresses sexual harassment and sets an excellent example of how to handle such pressure. Allowing young women to see on-screen that NO means just THAT NO! I’m truly impressed that Burnham captured spot on the experience of being a young adolescent girl.
Elsie Fisher as Kayla sucks you into her world with her single Dad, Mark (Josh Hamilton) and gives you a fly on the wall view of how they both are trying to navigate this exciting, yet terrifying chapter in a young life.
Body Image and the feeling inadequate with the cool kids is brilliantly tackled with a series of scenes at a pool party and the shadow program with older high school kids. but, the most endearing scene is when Kayla and her Dad have a heart to heart talk in which he professes his undying, unconditional love for his daughter no matter what. Every kid who feels a little different should have a parent, a friend or a relative that makes you feel special for just being who you are.
A24 reigns supreme when it comes to producing indie films and they alway know just what an audience needs at the right time. Take your kids and kids drag your parent to Eighth Grade, which is in theatre now. You’ll be really glad you did.