The wince issue is off the charts — in the finest approach — in “Eighth Grade,” a masterful ode to one in every of life’s most universally awkward phases.
“It’s like, being your self is laborious,” says Kayla (Elsie Fisher) in one in every of her many YouTube movies, a self-help-style sequence that elicits subsequent to no clicks and belies her actual life, the place she slouches together with an enormous backpack, greasy hair and a smattering of chin pimples, attempting to make herself invisible.
Author-director Bo Burnham, in his characteristic debut, skillfully intertwines the timeless points of adolescent humiliation and the very specific methods through which as we speak’s tech has modified them. When Kayla makes a bid to befriend well-liked youngsters, they’re not overtly “Imply Women” varieties; they merely can’t even be bothered to lookup from their telephones.
Fisher’s efficiency is so achingly susceptible and so non-perform-y you’d swear she’s a newcomer, however she’s not (she voiced the littlest lady, Agnes, in the “Despicable Me” sequence, amongst different roles).
Josh Hamilton (“13 Causes Why”) is genial and understated as Kayla’s single dad, attempting to compete along with his child’s iPhone over dinner and withstanding her sniping to not be “bizarre and unhappy” as he drops her off locations. His eleventh-hour pep speak will doubtless have you ever in tears.
Depicting socially awkward adolescence is a fragile factor: Burnham fortunately doesn’t overdo it with brutality, although a few sex-suggestive scenes might have you ever white-knuckling your popcorn. General, although, there is a pervasive gentleness right here; it’s like the anti-“Welcome to the Dollhouse” (Todd Solondz’s darkish 1996 indie a couple of gawky tween).
Burnham’s music cues listed below are additionally impressively on-point: The attractive, pounding soundtrack as Kayla spots a crush-worthy boy throughout the room appears channeled instantly from the thoughts of a teen lady. As a viewer who’s been a type of, I got here away from “Eighth Grade” intensely grateful for the film’s uncooked honesty, and for the reality that I by no means should be that age once more.