I don’t necessarily mind the YouTube monologues Kayla makes in an awkward stab at attaining popularity through vlogging, choked with so many “likes” and “ups” that making a legal transcript of them would be particularly torturous. I do, however, mind the way each one articulates sets up the theme and arc of each act. . . . The other thing that’s killing me is the way the film resolves: with a heartfelt monologue from Kayla’s dad (Josh Hamilton) that’s warm, understanding and reassuring.
Burnham explained at a Q&A that a lot of the dialogue was more scripted than viewers might think, given how spontaneously and naturally Fisher delivers her lines. In that case, credit is abundantly due to both of them, because clearly hours of research watching teenage YouTubers has paid off for Burnham with an entirely credible use of teenspeak throughout, liberally salted with the phatic emphasizer "like," and delivered with that mock-polished, TV-presenter cadence they all adopt.
I’m glad that I wasn’t familiar with the work of comedian and YouTube star Bo Burnham before seeing his directorial debut Eighth Grade, because otherwise I’m not sure how I would have initially received this engagingly modest film. . . . Part of Eighth Grade‘s charm comes from a refusal to go for easy confrontations or humiliations; it keeps threatening to become a cringe-fest, but pulls back, as Burnham opts instead for something more human and realistic. There’s a lived-in wisdom in the film.