Friday 24 May 2019

Eighth Grade review: 'Beautifully acted and just so relatable that it is a little gem with very broad appeal'

5 stars

Elsie Fisher in 'Eighth Grade'
Elsie Fisher in 'Eighth Grade'

Aine O'Connor

There are lots of great movies, most of which arrive with a fanfare. But every now and again a gem sneaks in all but unannounced - and Eighth Grade is one such treat.

It sounds perhaps like something with limited appeal but this is so well done, so beautifully acted and just so relatable that it is a little gem with very broad appeal.

Comedian and YouTuber Bo Burnham both wrote and directed this, his first film. He is 27 - and there is a potential stumbling block around a man telling a female's story, but it doesn't stumble. It is written and directed with confidence and style and the wonderful lead character is played, inhabited, perfectly by Elsie Fisher. You cringe, you wince, you hope and rejoice right along with her, all thanks to talented writing and acting, not manipulation.

Kayla (Fisher) is 14, in the eighth grade of the title, the end one phase of High School. In her Yearbook, that character establishing gift to filmmakers, she is voted Most Quiet - but that is not how she sees herself, nor how she wishes to be seen.

Her version of tweaking reality is to project the self she wants to be via her YouTube channel and Instagram.

She has a crush on Riley (Daniel Zolghadri) but he doesn't know she exists. Her dad (Josh Hamilton) is aware that Kayla is not the most popular child and is cringely pleased when she is invited to a popular kid's (Catherine Oliviere) party. By the popular kid's mother. Kayla herself doesn't labour under any illusion but is intent on changing to fit in.

Fisher was the voice of Agnes in Despicable Me but this, her first major physical role, shows a real talent.

Sweet, poignant, funny, beautifully observed and delivered, this little gem is a potential classic and I loved it.

Cert: 15A; Now showing

Sunday Indo Living

Editors Choice

Also in Entertainment

Back to top