A24 has released the first trailer for comedian Bo Burnham’s directorial debut Eighth Grade. Written and directed by Burnham, the film stars newcomer Elsie Fisher and is a painfully honest look at life in middle school on the cusp of moving to high school. The story is told from the point of view of an incredibly shy young girl who comes out of her shell on her YouTube channel (which has almost no subscribers), but in person tends to clam up. With only days left in eighth grade, she decides to put herself out there in a big way, and the film chronicles her journey through the joys of popularity, hormones, and social media as an awkward teenager in modern America. So basically it’s a horror movie.
Eighth Grade premiered at Sundance this past January and picked up pretty rapturous reviews. Indeed, I was one of the sole “dissenters” in that the film didn’t work for me as well as it worked for others, but I can definitely see how this movie might speak to a lot of people. Moreover, despite whatever issues I had with the film, Fisher undeniably gives a phenomenal breakout performance. You can read my full review right here.
This film has a lot in common with another coming-of-age story that was released last year, Lady Bird. Both were directorial debuts (Greta Gerwig technically co-directed another film, but Lady Bird was her first feature that was all hers), both were made by A24, and both boasted Oscar winner Scott Rudin as their producer. It’ll be interesting to see if Eighth Grade can find similar success, and while it’s a very different film in terms of tone and style, it strikes on certain universal truths about growing up that will no doubt hit home for many. A word of warning though: If you’re the type who gets stressed out by uncomfortable situations, Eighth Grade might literally kill you. Burnham does not hold back in the slightest when it comes to the awkwardness of middle school.
Check out the Eighth Grade trailer below followed by the poster. The film also stars Josh Hamilton and opens in theaters on July 13th.