Eighth Grade

Review on Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade.

Bo Burnhams Eighth Grade Movie poster.

Movie Poster

Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade Movie poster.

Eighth Grade, written and directed by YouTuber and comedian Bo Burnham, is a nostalgic and awkward reminder of our middle school days. The film, which was released on July 13, 2018, focuses on Kayla Day (played by Elsie Fischer), a quiet, shy and insecure teenage girl finishing her last weeks of eighth grade. Viewers follow Kayla as she experiences uncomfortable moments that many of us can relate to. As a recent graduate of eighth grade this movie resonated with me all too well. The “cringyness” of it was a lot to handle but the way of making me, and viewers, nostalgic of all the uncomfortable moments in our own eighth grade experiences was spot on.

In the beginning of the movie, Kayla is invited to a pool party by one of the popular girls in her grade who, unfortunately, only invited her because her mom made her. She goes, but is ignored by the other attendees. Eventually Kayla removes herself from the party and begs her oblivious dad (Josh Hamilton), to come pick her up, something that I have done countless times. The theme of being out of place shows up many times throughout the movie. This accurately and realistically depicts middle school.

Later in the movie Kayla and many of her middle school peers participate in a visit to the high school where they are paired up one on one with a senior to follow for the day. Kayla is paired with Olivia (Emily Robinson),who includes Kayla and makes her feel welcome. Olivia later invites Kayla to go to the mall with her and some friends. This leads to a sequence of events that ends with one of Olivia’s friends driving Kayla home, then pressuring her to fool around with him. She says no but feels bad, apologizing countless times. Fast forward a bit, and the film concludes with Kayla realizing she was going to do great in high school and standing up to the people who had ignored her throughout middle school.  

I noticed while watching the movie that it is filmed like a documentary. This helps show how impactful each event is to Kayla by not distracting viewers by showing other points of view.

The title of this movie could suggest something light hearted, but in reality the movie hints at some important issues we are discussing today. Characters in the movie are pressured to fool around with each other and also practice drills in case there is a school shooting. This makes me think that Bo Burnham wanted to highlight other issues and fears today’s teens face, not just our insecurities and everyday struggles.

This movie either had me covering my eyes to block the embarrassing middle school interactions, grabbing tissues to dry my tears caused by knowing what Kayla was going through, or holding back laughter so to not disturb other viewers.

Overall this movie was spot on creating the emotional roller coaster of eighth grade all over again and I definitely recommend it.