Junior high is a rough time for most people. Hormones are raging, bodies are changing and you haven’t exactly figured out how you fit in. Tack on endless bullying and the beginning stages of an anxiety disorder, and you have a pretty lethal combination.
This is exactly the scene Bo Burnham created in his new movie, “Eighth Grade.” In the film, we meet Kayla, a shy and awkward teenager in her last week of middle school. The audience is instantly thrown into her video blog universe aimed at helping young girls find their place in the world, all while Kayla struggles to do just that.
Elsie Fisher is brilliant in her portrayal of the young girl, although many of her scenes make us cringe to say the least. Fisher’s performance is authentic and special. She opens the door to her character’s heart and gives audiences a real look at Kayla’s thoughts and feelings.
Burnham, who both wrote and directed the film, perfectly captures the essence of the American teenager. From social media use, self-image issues, mental disorders and the start of dating, “Eighth Grade” covers a lot of topics that are just as uncomfortable now as they were when we actually experienced them.
“Eighth Grade” addresses issues that are very important in today’s society. Bullying, sexual harassment and mental health are three very trendy topics and are particularly relevant in a middle school setting. While this film may not provide any long-term solutions, it does allow for the conversation to take place, and that’s exactly what we need.