Written and directed by Bo Burnham, Eighth Grade follows thirteen-year-old Kayla (Elsie Fisher) who endures the tidal wave of contemporary suburban adolescence as she makes her way through the last week of eighth-grade year before she begins high school.
God, I would not survive in today’s world of social media. My childhood revolved around Myspace, which I luckily didn’t experience any of the negatives of, but websites where people could ask you anonymous questions would often leave me battling with anxiety, unable to leave my bedroom. To have the added pressures of the Instagram lifestyle and to inevitably face the trolls of other social media platforms, I really don’t think I would have made it.
If you ever felt like you weren’t good enough, you will feel so much love for Elsie Fisher‘s Kayla. She may not feel like she’s branching out enough and as if she doesn’t fit in, but all I felt for her was an extreme proudness. She is brave and confident, she stays true to herself, she doesn’t let anybody take advantage of her to make them think better of her, and she constantly pushes herself for improvement. She may not think that she’s doing a good job, but just like her father says, the fact that she’s remained such a nice person throughout all of these social challenges is an accomplishment in itself.
As if growing up isn’t hard enough, but with today’s generations needing a confident online presence as much as a real one, there’s so much more for high school students to have to think about. But Kayla really tries, and every effort that she made filled me with so much admiration. Kayla certainly did a much better job of being young than I ever did, that’s for sure, and it’s for that reason that I engaged so much with this story and Kayla’s character. It really took my breath away.
There were aspects of how the story was filmed that I didn’t like, but the script itself is so brilliantly written that I cannot fault its quality. Fisher’s performance, as well, is phenomenal, and I can’t wait to see more from her.