“Growing up can be a little bit scary and weird.”
Eighth Grade: My Review
Many years ago, I knew a man named Bill. The was a good guy and a smart man, graduated from Yale. He was the director of our local Children’s Theater. One time the newspaper thought that it would be a good idea to send a child to review one of his shows. He was furious and frustrated and terribly offended; and for good reason. Children’s Theater is an art form and deserves the respect of any or all art forms.
After seeing the film, Eighth Grade, I went to read some of the top reviews. I kind of felt like Bill. They were lumping the film in with other teenage movies like The Breakfast Club and saying that Eighth Grade is a very good movie. It is my opinion that this film deserves to be rated on the same level as any film and not get boxed in with that sub-genre.
If I were king of the Academy, I’d give Oscars to the writer, director and actress. The film is very solid as a film with exceptional work. Best Actor nods go to the actor who is in a dire or exceptional situation; DiCaprio in The Revenant or Redmayne as Stephen Hawking or Colin Firth in The King’s Speech. Getting up in the morning to go to school in the eighth grade is just as scary and challenging as all of those listed, it is to those eighth graders. Acne.
Several things stood out in the movie beyond the very good acting (Oscar please).
The first was our main character kept trying, she had hope. She had no friends, no boyfriend, she was shy, quiet and normal. One example, after unearthing a time capsule to herself from when she was in sixth grade; she hears herself hoping that she’ll have friends, will be cool, will have a boyfriend. This makes our current-time girl cry. She burns the time capsule “all her hopes and dreams”. But, then she sends another time capsule to her future self; hoping for friends, to be cool, to have a boyfriend but if that doesn’t happen, that’s okay. She keeps trying, she has hope; and that is hard to do. Everyday, in the eighth grade, she puts herself out there and tries.
The second was the internet. I had always thought that it was an empty thing for teenagers to get lost in. We see, in this film, how teenagers are trying to be a part of something. Commenting and giving a thumbs up means that they too are part of a bigger thing; society. Even our heroine, alone in her room, clicks and thumbs and sends smiles so that she can be part of something bigger than her daily life. It is incredibly important and if I had a kid, I’d let them spend hours on that phone. It is not vanity so much as needing to be a part of a much larger scene.
The film is sad and funny and powerfully honest. The acting is exceptional. The story is one of hope. What more can any audience member want?
By the way, Elsie Fisher who plays Kayla in the movie Eighth Grade has 23 acting credits on IMDB. Eddie Redmayne who won an Oscar for The Theory of Everything has 37. I’d say that she has screen cred, give her an Oscar.