By Chris Dugopolski
The movie doesn’t start as a movie. What you get is a very awkward YouTube video being made by Kayla, a thirteen-year old girl played by Elsie Fisher, in her last week of eighth grade. She stammers her way through the video injecting “like” at every other word. She is providing advice to teens her own age. This video talks about “being yourself.” Kayla is giving herself the advice as much as to others. Then she ends her video with a strange hand gesture and the word “Gucci.” It is painful to watch. The rest of the movie is almost equally as painful.
It is a story of today’s early teens. She is an expert at navigating her i-Phone and Apple laptop. The i-Phone is part of her anatomy. It is never out of her hand, even while eating and sleeping. At dinner with her single parent dad, she has phone in hand and earbuds on playing loud music. She interrupts her listening in order to talk to her dad. Dad is played by Josh Hamilton. He is an extremely nice dad and appears to be clueless as to what is going on in Kayla’s head.
Kayla would like to be “cool” but she is not one of the cool crowd. All through the film, I was worrying that she would take nude pictures of herself to send to the boy with whom she fantasizes. Though at one point she tells him that she has those pictures. She gets to attend a birthday pool party for one of the popular girls in her class. Her video prior to going to this party is about being “out there” another thing she is not good at.
Bo Burnham, a 28 year old man wrote and directed “Eighth Grade.” It is amazing that a young man realizes the angst that a young girl goes through in Junior High.
This movie is a very realistic look at what it is like today to be a thirteen-year old girl, but I certainly would not spend $10 to go see it.