Brutally honest and heartfelt “Eighth Grade” gets adolescence right.

In recent years, there have been plenty of coming of ages stories. But none have been quite as authentic as Eighth Grade.

Eighth Grade follows thirteen-year-old Kayla (Elsie Fisher) as she makes her way through the last week of middle school before beginning high school in the fall.  The film was written and directed by YouTube sensation, Bo Burnham and was a huge hit earlier this year at Sundance.

As we all may remember, middle school is an awkward time full of acne, gossip and just trying to fit in while also trying to find yourself. What is so special about Eighth Grade is how it effortlessly transports us right back to those awkward times in a very real way. Scenes of the film literally had me cringing, forcing me to relive some of my worst middle school memories.

A lot of this awkward reality is thanks to Elsie Fisher who encapsulates the full rollercoaster of emotions middle school students experience. Her nerves become our nerves. Her excitement becomes our excitement.

I applaud Burnham for capturing middle school as it truly is — uncomfortable, clunky, ineloquent and overdramatic. There was not an ounce of gloss or fabrication. Burnham also does a fantastic job of illustrating the important role digital and social media plays in the lives of these youths.

Final Thoughts:  Eighth Grade will take you right back to middle school thanks to Burnham’s honest filmmaking.

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