Back in December of 2017, we broke the news to you all that comedian Bo Burnham would be making his directorial debut at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Well, Sundance is here, and Bo’s coming-of-age drama/comedy ‘Eighth Grade‘ has premiered.
The film, which tells the “story of a young girl during her last days of Eighth Grade as she tries to navigate all the awkwardness of being a middle-schooler with social anxiety,” already has a great distributor in A24, so it wasn’t entering the festival in hopes of being purchased. All Burnham had to worry about were the reviews coming in from the general audience and the critics.
And thankfully, most of the reviews have been positive. IndieWire’s Kate Erbland gave the film a wonderful ‘A-‘ rating and described the film as an “achingly real, firmly modern coming-of-age tale – with honesty and vulnerability to spare.”
She, along with almost every critic, praised Elsie Fisher’s performance in the film. She reportedly appears in every scene and immediately demands your attention. It’s being described as a ” breakthrough” performance for the young star, who had mostly worked on animated films before this. She was the voice of Agnes in the ‘Despicable Me‘ franchise.
The avclub writes…
“Burnham’s stroke of genius, luck, or both was the casting of Elsie Fisher, best known for voicing pint-sized unicorn fanatic Agnes in the Despicable Me movies. As Kayla, who shoots her own weekly YouTube advice column amusingly out of step with the reality of her status as class wallflower, Fisher brings a spot-on self-consciousness to the role—a fumbling sincerity, a struggle to get out every word, that makes her alternately invisible and vulnerable to her confident, shark-eyed teenage classmates.”
I haven’t seen a negative review for the film yet. It might not take home as many awards as A24’s previous coming-of-age story, Lady Bird, but it looks like Burnham’s first film will be a great success. And honestly, I’m not surprised at all. He’s something special.