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Eighth Grade

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An introverted teenage girl tries to survive the last week of her disastrous eighth grade year before leaving to start high school.

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Elsie Fisher, Josh Hamilton, Emily Robinson

An introverted teenage girl tries to survive the last week of her disastrous eighth grade year before leaving to start high school. In his feature film directorial debut, comedian Bo Burnham deftly encapsulates the awkwardness, angst, self-loathing and reinvention that a teenage girl goes through on the cusp of high school. Given that the 27-year-old stand-up comic achieved fame as a teenager himself through YouTube by riffing on his insecurities, he is uniquely capable as the film’s writer and director to tell the story of Kayla, an anxious girl navigating the final days of her eighth grade year, despite creating a protagonist w female instead of male. Like Burnham did more than a decade ago, 13-year-old Kayla turns to YouTube to express herself, where she makes advice blogs in which she pretends to have it all together. In reality, Kayla is sullen and silent around her single father and her peers at school, carrying out most of her interactions with her classmates on Instagram and Twitter. Her YouTube videos are a clever narrative tool that provide insight into her inner hopes and dreams, much like an inspirational online diary. One of Eighth Grade’s biggest triumphs is in its realism. Kayla Day is an eighth grade student finishing her final week at a public middle school in the state of New York. She posts motivational videos on YouTube about confidence and self-image that get almost no views. Struggling to make friends at school, she wins the “Most Quiet” award from her classmates. Meanwhile, Mark, her single father, struggles to connect with her and break her reliance on social media. She is invited to a pool party hosted by a classmate, Kennedy, who has done so only after being forced by her mother. At the party, Kayla has an anxiety attack in the bathroom but eventually goes outside to swim, where she meets Gabe, Kennedy’s eccentric cousin. After trying to leave the party, Kayla has an awkward encounter with her crush, Aiden, who suggests that she rejoin the group. She overcomes her fear and volunteers to sing karaoke..

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