Specifically, eighth grade as experienced by a girl named Kayla with her own YouTube channel full of positive affirmations and the ever consuming presence of social media.
The film has been making the rounds at film festivals with plenty of positive buzz, except that the movie received an "R" rating, which means that actual 8th graders can't go and see it without a parent in tow. There are some sexual situations and some language, which I guarantee isn't anything your teen hasn't seen or experienced for themselves.
I can't give a definitive verdict on whether or not "Eighth Grade" is a-ok for your actual 8th grader to watch because as of yet, I haven't actually seen it.
I mean, that's kind of up to you as a parent to decide that anyway isn't it? And for that matter, what one parent deems appropriate for their child, another will inevitably find horrifying.
Such is life.
What I CAN say is that I've read a lot of different articles about this film (I liked this one best) and watched the trailer roughly a million times, and based off of that information and the plethora of reviews and ratings,...I'm pretty sure that if I had an 8th grader, I'd buy him/her a ticket and myself one too.
Cringe-worthy, Honest and Deeply Empathetic
"Eighth Grade' is a movie you'll be talking about for a long time. Bo Burnham, one of the O.G.'s of teen YouTube stardom, has given us an agonizingly rich and authentic look at what life is like for Kayla (Elsie Fisher), a shy 13-year-old girl in today's social media obsessed world. Burnham, directing his first feature, doesn't spare any detail and doesn't alter any truth.
This film is exceedingly honest. It doesn't depict Kayla's experiences the way we might think they should be for an eighth grader or the way we might want them to be-they're simply presented as they are. Pool parties are a source of unbearable discomfort. First sexual encounters are not always pleasant. Kids with exploding hormones and little impulse control randomly shout unfunny phrases at assemblies in the hopes of earning a laugh.
Parents can keep this in mind when they have conversations with their own kids, possibly directly after watching this film. Many kids and parents will likely watch it together since it carries an "R" rating (it's ironic that a film that accurately reflects the lives of eighth graders is deemed too adult for them to watch on their own). And parents should watch this with their kids, so they can both understand each other a little bit better. They'll both be better for doing so."
8th grade still feels really real for me, you know? Even though it happened like 20+ years ago...hey-ooooo! I'm not sure I made it out entirely unscathed, but at least I got to go through it in a world where social media didn't exist because I can't even imagine how many more layers of awful that adds on to the whole thing.
Through Kayla, I imagine you get a good glimpse.
When actual eighth graders got the chance to see the film the overwhelming consensus was that Kayla and her experience was totally relatable and entirely too real.
Eighth Grade is in theaters now, will you be watching?