Eighth Grade asks an intriguing question: what does it mean that today’s teenagers mediate everything through YouTube, a service in which everyone is encouraged to present themselves as an expert? The film opens with an uncomfortably long monologue by Kayla (Elsie Fisher), who is awkward and not particularly popular but who records awkward self-help videos in her bedroom, anyway. It feels like the setup for a satire, but this film is very sweet and avoids going too far in any one direction. Writer/director Bo Burnham is maybe overly protective of his heroine: her pimples are never mentioned, her speech – standard teen language filled with ums and likes – no less coherent than her school principal’s. Ultimately, Burnham fails to answer his own question.
Eighth Grade is currently playing at Cinemaworld Lincoln, Island Cinemas, Regal Cinema Bellingham, and Showcase Cinemas (Providence Place/Seekonk/Attleboro/Warwick)