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Eighth Grade 2018 ****

Bo Burnham’s background on social media was one of the main selling points of his coming-of-age tale Eighth Grade, but the writer/director’s first film is a careful, tender and decidedly now film about a girl growing up in the digital age. Burnham smartly doesn’t over-emphasise this; Kayla has a blog, largely unseen, and expresses herself through her tech, but it doesn’t really change anything about her life rather than indexing her many anxieties. Kayla (Elise Fisher) has difficulties with boys are to be expected, but the sweet nature of her relationship with her father (John Hamilton) is far more affecting than might be guessed. All the conversations featured here feel real, like the mall-chat where Kayla’s age is discussed in terms of how mature she was when Snapchat became a thing. A throw-away scene in which the school-children sleepwalk through a drill for a school-shooter reveals Eighth Grade’s charm; the times may have changed, but the essence of childhood, having fun while yearning to be mature, remains much the same.

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