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Eighth Grade

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Spend the last week of grade school with Kayla Day (Elsie Fisher), a straight-out nongregarious teen who uses earbuds to muffle the monotony brought forth by her doting dad (Josh Hamilton), fidgets her way through starting a daily PMA video blog, and joins her classmates under their desks for an Active-shooter drill. The latter is worth mentioning, since it’s the first on film that, thankfully, isn’t here to foreshadow the outcome. Heather Matarazzo’s Dawn Wiener in Welcome to the Dollhouse set the gold standard for this type of painfully awkward teen-in-transition, but Fisher’s performance is nothing short of cringeworthy (high praise in this case). Still, the real delight is Hamilton’s equally ungainly dad, who grows up faster than any of the kids in the picture. Writer/director Bo Burnham ratchets up the mean-spiritedness a bit by scrutinizing every one of his star’s teenager’s imperfections, highlighting rolls of back-fat and using an 85mm lens to scan every inch of her acne-ravaged face more painstakingly than a lunar rover. (2018) — Scott Marks

Rated R | 1 hour, 34 minutes
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