Golden Donut preparation continues with a movie that has easily thrown its hat into the ring for possible Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay nominations. Only time will tell if it receives any noms, but for now here’s my review.
Eighth Grade is the story of an awkward 13 year old girl trying to make it through her final year of middle school. She learns to try and fit in to a world she increasingly doesn’t feel a part of, before she makes the jump to high school.
It is actually pretty amazing that such a simple, confined story can be turned into such a good movie. This is literally just a few weeks out of a teenage girl’s life as she struggles to get through middle school. Obviously I can’t completely relate to that for several reasons, the first being it’s been over a decade since I was in middle school and another being that, well, I’m not a girl. But even I felt like this was a super realistic depiction of what a teenage girl’s life is like. Middle school can be an awkward time for pretty much everyone and the movie proves that. It also plays off the aspect of growing up in a world that is all cell phones and social media. The best interactions of the movie easily come between the girl and her dad. They lead to some of the funniest moments, and also some of the most heartfelt moments with the father trying to prove he loves his daughter for who she is, no matter what anyone else thinks. Bo Burnham did a knockout job of writing and directing this movie. I never saw something like this coming from him based on his stand up comedy. Elsie Fisher turns in one of the best performances of the year. The way she acts and talks almost makes the movie feel unscripted.
There aren’t a whole lot of things I can hate on about the movie. The movie is self aware enough that things I think were dumb were realistic because teenage girls are dumb. Teenagers in general are dumb. And rather than shying away from that, the movie leans right into it. It’s a tough one to score. It does probably deserve a Golden Donut overall, but it wasn’t something I could relate to as much as other people probably will be able to. I enjoyed watching it, but was a little bored at times. Because of that, I am going to give Eighth Grade a Positive ROP, but also highly recommend watching it. It is definitely worth the $2 to rent it at a Redbox.
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