Terribly Tough Teenage Times;
Similar Yet Worse.
Good, but Nothing Great;
Awkward and Relatable;
Middle School was Trash.
Watch in Theater Immediately
Pickup at Redbox/Rent Digitally
**Stream on Netflix/Watch on Cable**
Don’t Waste Your Time
Eighth Grade is largely forgettable. The stuff with Kayla and her dad was wonderful, but outside of that, there didn’t seem to be a ton of substance. A couple of the videos Kayla recorded worked well, being dubbed over her acting out what she is talking about on the video, but as a whole, the story was certainly lacking. The payoff in the end was not nearly what it needed to be, which was probably brought on by a lackluster script from the start. The score was somewhat of a highlight. I did enjoy how the camera was placed over Kayla’s shoulder for much of the film, placing the viewer in her shoes. There are many other coming of age tales that do the same things as Eighth Grade, but do them better.
I feel like this will be the Lady Bird of 2018 to a lot of folks. A coming of age tale about a young woman and the challenges she faces that a lot of people will give far more praise than it really deserves. The film doesn’t break new ground, and while it does some things very well, it doesn’t do them enough. The scenes between Kayla and her dad are the moments that shine the brightest, and that territory should have been explored further. There are some really nice, tender moments, but no real conflict. The script sticks mainly to safe choices, which I understand for a comedy about a 13 year old socially awkward girl, but it is hindered a bit by those decisions. The score is another bright spot that does well to push the mood of the scenery, albeit occasionally overpowering. Elsie Fisher and Josh Hamilton excel in their roles and have great chemistry as child and parent. Overall, this is a good film, but not one that rocked me by any stretch.