Eighth Grade

June 27, 2021 - Middle school can be tough for any kid, but it can be downright brutal for those who lack confidence and social skills. Kayla, the main character in this R-rated film from 2018, is one of those kids. Elsie Fisher has the starring role. Josh Hamilton plays her bewildered single dad.

The movie takes place during the last week of eighth grade as Kayla and her classmates prepare to graduate from middle school and move on to high school in the fall. It's unclear what, if any, extracurricular activities Kayla has been involved in. But, she does spend some of her free time giving herself pep talks that she records and posts online for an audience that seems to hover between zero and two.

Practicing what she preaches is a different matter. Kayla walks around with her head down and her shoulders stooped. When she does try to assert herself, she's usually met by blank stares from uninterested peers. One exception is Olivia, a high school senior assigned to show Kayla around what will be her new school. For some reason, Olivia thinks Kayla is cool and invites her to hang out with her and her friends at the mall. It does not go well.

Overall review: ** I had a really tough time getting through this movie. It's slightly more than 90-minutes long, but I watched it in several 15 to 20-minutes chunks. Why? Maybe it hit too close to home for this introvert. Or, maybe Kayla just wasn't that interesting. Either way, I don't think this movie says anything that you need to hear or don't already know.