Rated: R for language and some sexual material. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: July 13, 2018 Released by: A24 Films
Bo Burnham (The Big Sick) connects with early teenage angst, perhaps in ways that is an interesting new-age contrast to entries like "Welcome To The Dollhouse" which featured Heather Matarazzo's perpetually teased middle-schooler Dawn Weiner.
A less cynical, rather insightful White Plains-shot Eighth Grade stars Elise Fisher (Despicable Me, McFarland USA among many small and silver-screen credits) and Josh Hamilton (Frances Ha, Manchester By The Sea).
Fisher's successful advance in the business here as the snubbed, sometimes pimply Kayla who tunes out her single dad Mark (Hamilton) for the most part when he tries to strike up a semblance of conversation with her, say, at the dinner table. Burnham has a distinctive handle on someone who doesn't like being labeled "quiet" and does video counseling from her bedroom which isn't easy to follow from a personal standpoint (and is pretty niggling at the outset given her lexicon).
Interactions with boys like Gabe (Jake Ryan) at a affluent classmate's pool bash, not to mention an older junior (Daniel Zolghadri) inviting her to be a bit more open clicks sharply into the social sects and smartphone obsessions. Kayla has the urge to exude her allure which elicit her ideas and way of thinking. Making headway around a campfire does make her realize what her dad is going through to try and raise her.
A mindful burst of an oft-covered experience has the 28-year-old writer/director keying into the little details, but not trying to do handstands as attempted by a character. Under this effective headship Fisher has the cognizance to get through the small talk with something important to say about thirteen-year-olds facing many challenges like Kayla in an enlightening Eighth Grade.