50 Years of SIFF: Eighth Grade
November 3 - 24, 2023
In a star-making performance, Elsie Fisher perfectly captures the everyday humiliations and triumphs of a modern-day thirteen-year-old making her way through her disastrous eighth grade year in the auspicious filmmaking debut of comedian Bo Burnham.
Most of us didn’t have our lives figured out by eighth grade graduation, despite best efforts to prove otherwise in the face of our classmates. Smart phones and convenient tech have brought the existential dread of not being cool all the way home 24/7 for kids of the current generation. Without the threat of Russian strike, today’s kids have far more intimate—but no less visceral—concerns. Bo Burnham’s directorial debut weeds through the minefield that is modern adolescence through the view of Kayla, a thoughtful 13-year-old girl on the precipice of completing junior high. A social media life coach of sorts, Kayla produces YouTube videos to her imaginary subscribers about self-love and confidence, yet can't quite put these into practice in her own life. Avoiding typical autobiographical coming-of-age film clichés, Burnham, a renowned 27-year-old male comedian, tells his own empathetic tale through the eyes and voice of a female middle-schooler. Eighth Grade pulls the extraordinary out of the ordinary with a unique story amidst the average teen experience. Whether you're a current student, or an adult whose middle school years are long gone, Kayla (and Bo's) tale strikes home for any who have questioned if they belonged.
- Director: Bo Burnham
- Principal Cast: Elsie Fisher, Josh Hamilton
- Country: USA
- Year: 2018
- Running Time: 93 min.
- Producer: Scott Rudin, Eli Bush, Christopher Storer, Lila Yacoub
- Screenplay: Bo Burnham
- Cinematographers: Andrew Wehde
- Editors: Jennifer Lilly
- Music: Anna Meredith
- Website: Official Film Website
- Awards: SFFILM Festival 2018 (Audience Award)
- Filmography: Eighth Grade (2018)
- Language: English
- US Distributor: A24