There is a new movie out called Eighth Grade and I highly recommend it.
It is a “coming of age” story about a teenage girl who is finishing the 8th grade and preparing to go to high school. She is awkward and lonely... and a classic teenager.
My youngest daughter just finished the 8th grade and is about to turn 14. So for me, this film could not have come at a better time. In some ways, this movie is about all of us. Then, now, and going forward. It’s about finding ourselves, defining ourselves, connecting with others, fitting in, not fitting in, insecurities, philosophies, attitudes, social media, self-help, and being human.
But the depiction of the 14-year-old mind in this day and age, the addiction to social media and screens, is so relatable. The “interference" of parents in the teenage world is particularly fascinating. When the earbuds are in or the headphones are on, these kids are transported to another world. So every knock on the bedroom door or every word spoken at the dinner table is a nuclear intrusion. I suppose we were the same way in the 1970s when we would watch TV or put on our headphones and listen to our vinyl records.
But we forget when we are adults/parents what it was like to be overwhelmed with hormones, pimples, homework, boredom, boys, girls, body images, and social pressure.
The true beauty of this film is not just the depiction of the modern day teenager and their social media/smartphone addictions. It’s the gentle reminder that while the technology has changed radically, the dynamics of social cliques, peer pressure, and wanting things to be better (or just different) remains ubiquitous.
If you have a teenager at home, this movie should be required viewing. If you ever had a teenager or were a teenager, you may just love it for the walk down memory lane… and the gratitude that this stage is behind you.
By the way, I tried to bring my 8th grader to this movie, but she said, “No way. I saw the trailer and it’s simply too real. I can’t watch THAT with my parents."