Published on November 8th, 2018 | by Dan Nicholls


Eighth Grade – Blu ray Review

We take a look at the excellent film, Eighth Grade, as well as the recently released blu ray version of the teenage wasteland sleeper hit.

A summer indie sleeper surprise, Eighth Grade makes it way home so you can live and relive the terrors of middle school all over again. It’s a rollercoaster of nostalgic nightmares that leaves you grateful you got to share the experience with a protagonist as endearing as Kayla (Elsie Fisher). You’d be doing your emotional I.Q. a disservice to miss this movie.

The authenticity and naturalism found in every frame of Eighth Grade is simply off the charts. It’s easy to forget that we’re watching fictional characters at times and the talented cast of youngsters seem to just be. This isn’t a movie about adults at all but Josh Hamilton as Mark, Kayla’s father, is heartbreakingly pure.

Kayla is a quiet, timid girl observing life at a distance until some formative ‘coming-of-age’ experiences bring her a step closer to her true self. Her troubles and triumphs are emotionally visceral to the point of inducing physical reactions. Actress Elsie Fisher hits each note perfectly, she’s bound for every “young performer of the year” award under the sun.

Eighth Grade exposes the horrorshow beginnings of adolescence and drags in some sharp, relatable pain with it. It might be one of the most accurate depictions of childhood social anxiety ever and it’s packaged with grace by writer-director Bo Burnham. It’s funny, heartbreaking, and difficult to watch if you’ve ever lived through those years of growing pains. It’ll trigger your own anxiety alongside Kayla’s.

It turns out Eighth Grade is a film that actually benefits from home viewing because it’s just so damn hard to watch at times. Uncomfortable, awkward, cringe-worthy moments make this slice-of-life a little hard to swallow but it’s nevertheless honest and truthful to its characters.

You can shudder and shriek out loud from the comfort of your couch with the movie’s home video release. It’s currently available digitally and on DVD and Blu-ray, which includes a small selection of noteworthy special features.

You Are Not Alone: Life in Eighth Grade (featurette) – Early in the featurette it’s stated that the film is about the things we forget about; it’s those lost moments in our minds that we experience in Kayla’s journey. We get some insightful words from writer/director Bo Burnham here, it’s definitely a worthwhile 14 minutes to spend digging deeper than most standard-issue press pieces dare to go.

Music Video: “Nautilus” by Anna Meredith – A trippy interpretive recreation of moments from the film set to a piece of composer Meredith’s score.

Deleted Scenes – A small moment of Kayla getting her picture taken and an extended stay at Gabe’s place. There’s also a montage of unused footage culminating in an awesome dancefloor shot of Kayla letting go.

Feature-Length Commentary by Writer-Director Bo Burnham and Actress Elsie Fisher – Another insightful glimpse into the heart and technical soul of making the film. Burnham once again peels back subtle layers to expose even greater depth beneath the surface of Eighth Grade.

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is a Vancouver-based, lifelong movie geek who's been a projectionist, critic, director, (accidental) actor, and writer in the industry since E.T. phoned home. @dannicholls

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