Complete A-Z list

Eighth Grade


Stars: Elsie Fisher, Josh Hamilton, Jake Ryan, Emily Robinson

Director: Bo Burnham

You sense that the director is trying to do something different with this school story, and it's a pity that it doesn't work.

The leading character's 'advisory' videos are mildly amusing at first, but with repetition will soon grate on your teeth like chalk scraped across a blackboard - that is if you don't drop off before they're finished.

Kayla (Fisher) is a chubby, spotty (the pimples come and go but presumably that's make-up) 13-year-old nearing the end of eighth grade, which in America is the last year before high school. A slave to her iphone and laptop, she sleeps in a bed curtained by fairy lights and is experiencing all the growing pains that come with her age. She has recently been voted the quietest girl in the school, which doesn't sit well with her efforts to make friends and mingle.

She lives with her flaky father (Hamilton) - no surprise that his wife has left him - and speaks in that tinny, metallic way that many American teenage girls these days do. Everyone is, like, cool (except the high school boy who 'dares' her to take her shirt off), but the film doesn't go very deep in examining the highs and (many) lows of sub-teen experimentation and angst.

Sadly, Eighth Grade emerges as pretty second-rate.

David Quinlan

USA 2018. UK Distributor: Sony (Screen 6). Technicolor.
97 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 22 Apr 2019