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‘Eighth Grade’ shows struggles of youth

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“Eighth Grade” stars Elsie Fisher as Kayla Day, a shy 13-year-old navigating through the difficulties of adolescence as her last week of middle school comes to a close.  

I would be lying if I said I was not cringing throughout this entire film, but it is not for the reasons you think. In fact, its general awkwardness helps depict a spot-on image of every girl’s middle school years.  

I couldn’t help but reminisce back to the olden days when wearing Hollister was key to sitting with the in-crowd during lunch and pool parties were the epitome of absolute embarrassment.  

If ‘Eighth Grade’ did one thing well it was the accurate portrayal of social media today. Throughout the film Kayla is shown to be very dedicated to her YouTube channel which she uses to speak out about topics such as social anxiety, being yourself, and many other problems teenagers continue to face on a daily basis.  

Although she preaches the idea of self-love she finds it difficult to embrace her naturally gawky personality. This makes it harder for her to socialize with her peers and causes her to isolate herself from the rest of her class. 

It is easy to get caught up in other people’s lifestyles- for Kayla she is shown to idolize famous social media personalities. In one scene, she is shown frantically applying makeup to one of Olivia Jade’s morning routine videos and getting frustrated as she realizes it is not going as expected. Later in the movie, Kayla is pressured to do sexual things with a high school boy who decides to take advantage of her submissive nature. Instead of comforting her he shames her into believing he truly cares about her, even going as far as to say he is trying to help her. 

Another scene helps viewers understand the true seriousness of the effect that anxiety can have on younger people. 

While sitting by a fire and burning up a box of old trinkets and memories, Kayla implies that she feels like a burden to her father who quickly extinguishes her negative feelings with the promise of unconditional love. I found it important that this movie gave viewers a deeper insight into how anxiety can make those dealing with it feel. For Kayla, her feelings not only caused her to distance herself from people her age but also her father. “Eighth Grade” was incredibly realistic in the sense that growing up can be challenging. 

I think we can all agree that the pressure to fit in was a continuous uphill battle. This is a movie we can all relate to on some level. I especially enjoyed how it precisely represented the hardships that many women face as they begin to grow up.  

The most important part of the film was that Kayla was not able to magically get rid of all her flaws and insecurities. Instead, she embraced them and used them as an opportunity to grow. 

We can all learn a lesson from this movie.  

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‘Eighth Grade’ shows struggles of youth