Eighth-grader Kayla Day always has her phone in hand, hoping to find connections online that might make up for those she’s unable to forge in everyday life. She makes YouTube videos aimed at other adolescents dealing with similar issues—feelings of isolation, anxiety, and invisibility—but after so easily summoning this wisdom and confidence when addressing her (barely existent) audience, Kayla finds it paralyzingly difficult to apply in real situations. In the final week of a thus-far-disastrous school year—and with high school looming on the horizon—Kayla struggles to bridge the gap between how she perceives herself and who she believes she should be.
Writer/director Bo Burnham, making his feature film debut, delivers a keenly observed and achingly funny portrait of the insecurities and absurdities of being 13 in a world where one’s private experience is lived publicly online. While EIGHTH GRADE depicts the seeming impossibility of making it through middle school alive, it also celebrates the debut of its star, Elsie Fisher, who anchors the film with a dynamic portrayal that feels both incredibly specific and heartbreakingly universal. (From the 2018 Sundance Film Festival Program Guide)
“You’re going to fall in love with Elsie Fisher…. It’s remarkable that Burnham—yes, a man—has delivered a film like EIGHTH GRADE, which is so deeply rooted in the feminine adolescent experience that it often feels as if he must have cracked open a whole mess of girls’ diaries to pen it.” —Kate Erbland, Indiewire
“With EIGHTH GRADE, his directorial debut, comedian Bo Burnham has tapped into a byproduct of social-media-saturated adolescence that’s often overlooked in favor of parental panic and worst-case-scenario horror stories.” —Emily Yoshida, Vulture
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Now screening at The Belcourt in Nashville.