Eighth Grade Movie Review
In a few months, I’ll be the father of a little girl. In a few years, I will have to deal with the anxiety-ridden, socially awkward years of a teenage girl just trying to find her place in this world—with parties, manipulative boys and simple existence serving as the never-ending minefield in her way (or, as my wife pointed out, a greater fear: that she’ll end up being a mean girl that causes anxiety upon others).
Eighth Grade, Bo Burnham’s joyfully entertaining and absorbing comedy-drama, is both reassuring and downright scary, an impressively organic, believable and grounded piece of filmmaking that is so natural, so seemingly in tune with what eighth-grade girls go through, that I had no idea while watching that it was written by a 28-year-old dude.
The movie, which follows a girl during the final week of her middle school tenure, is a superbly written, funny, entertaining and intimate piece of art. Burnham captures so many little moments, every scene portraying the nuanced ups and downs of daily life, it’s incredible.
Burnham also introduced me to the word Gucci (as a salutation).
He also introduced (or re-introduced) the world to the talent of Elsie Fisher, his star who delivers one of the year’s best performances. As well written as Eighth Grade is, it’s hard to imagine too many other actresses bringing Burnham’s screenplay to life in such an accessible, engrossing way. Fisher commands every scene.
Equally commanding is the film’s Gucci-worthy score. Composer Anna Meredith drops memorable beat after beat, song after song, complementing and elevating Burnham’s material at every turn. The pool scene embodies Meredith’s craft, the music itself a character with personality, charm and energy.
Eighth Grade is a terrific piece of filmmaking that turns Elsie Fisher into a star. Funny and entertaining yet real and occasionally somber, Bo Burnham has delivered one of the best movies of 2018.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.