Author Topic: Eighth Grade  (Read 270 times)


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Eighth Grade
« on: January 22, 2019, 06:11:36 PM »
The divide between parent and kid is always going to be there and no matter how the parent thinks they might understand what it is like, after all, they went through it, they never really will. I am not sure I have seen that played out quite as well as it is here, maybe it is now that I am older and it never would occur to me that somebody would be coming up in a very different age of time by just being a few years apart when they started using Snapchat (which I have a vague idea of what it is).

I am interested in is how others take the ending, does it end on a positive note or not?  The entire time watching this film, I kept thinking while 8th grade can be bad, the worst is about to come.  While she had a brief moment of confidence and confronted her "enemy," she ended by recording another video to herself for her to view when she finished high school. It was very similar to what she had done a few years early for her 8th-grade self, and we see how well that went.

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“The direct use of physical force is so poor a solution to the problem of limited resources that it is commonly employed only by small children and great nations” - David Friedman


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Re: Eighth Grade
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2019, 01:45:54 AM »
I just watched this.

It was very similar to what she had done a few years early for her 8th-grade self, and we see how well that went.
It wasn't though, it was very much not the same thing to the point where it was really absurd that she'd suddenly have the insight to change the tone that way. The original video was all about expectation, "wasn't that so fun" "I'm sure you're great" "must be great to have a boyfriend". She felt bad not because of the reminder of who she was, but because of the reminder that the 2-3 years of middle school were a wasteland of disappointment. The new video comes with the realization that things might turn out in all sorts of ways "and that's ok too." It's all about comfort and support and understanding that things may still suck but there's still hope. Watching that at the end of high school might be depressing if high school didn't go well, but I don't think it would give the same reaction her middle school video did. An 18 year old also has a lot more perspective than a 13 year old.

So yeah, the ending is very much meant to be a positive note, but it has a very "adult" perspective where the rest of the film does a pretty good job of showing the perspective of an eighth grader. The whole dad talk at the bonfire is written for parents watching not for a kid listening, the confrontation of her "enemy" feels out of place, that she'd do it at all and especially with all those other students present doesn't feel believable. So while the ending is positive if taken at face value, it feels more hollow than the rest of the film, even if it holds from being straight up cheery.

Throughout the film I was thinking back to how watching this film back then would have affected me but, while I recognize it on an emotional level,  the specifics, as you note, would have been nonsensical. All the technology doesn't change the human dynamics, but it changes their expression to the point that it's easy to convince yourself it would change the dynamics. "Well, if I could have had X or done Y then of course I would have made good use of the opportunity." I think I would have found it truthful and relatable.