Parental Guidance

Why Parents Should Ignore Eighth Grade's R Rating

This earnest depiction of teen life will ring true for eighth graders -- and anyone who remembers what it was like to be 13 years old.

by | August 3, 2018 | Comments

Stand-up comedian Bo Burnham’s feature directorial debut has picked up rave reviews since it premiered at Sundance, but the MPAA has slapped an R rating on it, making it more difficult for younger viewers to see it. But, as Christy Lemire argues, this is exactly the kind of movie those teens and tweens should see, as she breaks down what earned the movie its rating and what you can expect going into it.


THE MOVIE

Eighth Grade (2018) 99%

Rating: R, for language and some sexual material.

Eighth Grade is one of the best movies of the year, so I’m thrilled that it’s opening nationwide this weekend to give more people the opportunity to see it. Writer-director Bo Burnham’s story about an introverted 13-year-old girl (the hilarious and heartbreaking Elsie Fisher) navigating the last week of middle school is emotionally raw and relatable in so many ways. Middle school is painfully awkward no matter who you are or where you are, and Eighth Grade captures this fraught moment in time beautifully. It also happens to be rated R, meaning that – in theory – a lot of the young viewers who would benefit from seeing it might not be able to get a ticket.

I urge you to consider allowing the older kids in your home to see this film. Here’s where the R rating comes from: There’s quite a bit of language scattered throughout. The characters talk the way kids this age truly talk, and that means some profanity. There’s also some discussion of naked cell phone pictures and whether or not a character is willing to perform a sex act on another, but it comes from a place of false bravado. And in one particularly tense scene, our heroine finds herself in the backseat of a car with a teenage guy who’s a few years older than she is – but how that moment shakes out might surprise you.

Eighth Grade also could help tweens and teens in the way it depicts the psychological impact of social media and the Internet in general. Fisher’s character, Kayla, finds herself obsessing over the popular kids’ Instagram feeds. She also projects an image of the kind of confident person she’d like to be through her own series of YouTube self-help videos — which only get a handful of views. Social media expedites and heightens the anxieties of this harrowing time full of insecurity, and Eighth Grade depicts that uncomfortable sensation vividly.

Like The Breakfast Club and Fast Times at Ridgemont High before it, Eighth Grade carries a rating that may make it seem too mature for your kids, but it’s probably exactly what they need to see right now as they figure out their place in the world. I highly recommend it for viewers who are in eighth grade themselves – and maybe even sixth or seventh —  and older.

Tag Cloud

cops Mary Tyler Moore AMC scorecard Super Bowl dragons A24 dc Apple TV Plus DC Comics Sony Pictures archives know your critic CBS All Access Apple halloween tv sequel new star wars movies social media saw tv talk dark hispanic heritage month kong TCM 72 Emmy Awards Tomatazos royal family FOX Rocketman screenings dogs hispanic prank versus A&E latino game of thrones Film YouTube Premium concert sequels Endgame richard e. Grant Christmas Sundance politics venice spain jurassic park Ovation TV movies 93rd Oscars The Witch RT History discovery Comedy Central Lionsgate Musicals teaser Esquire FX international new york The Arrangement king arthur asian-american action-comedy Binge Guide thriller toronto godzilla 2020 docudrama all-time canceled President Mudbound doctor who name the review Stephen King fresh 2019 documentary Turner Rom-Com book war Oscars crossover 2016 DirecTV quibi Calendar The Walt Disney Company unscripted CBS 24 frames canceled TV shows comic book movies 45 SundanceTV slasher Podcast PlayStation spy thriller First Reviews Hallmark Christmas movies Grammys Extras Premiere Dates scene in color Television Critics Association LGBT science fiction docuseries aliens Epix crime thriller critics New York Comic Con anthology Walt Disney Pictures Marathons Ellie Kemper Masterpiece BET Awards jamie lee curtis basketball Warner Bros. Amazon Prime Video spider-man VICE worst movies HBO 71st Emmy Awards scary movies YA Sci-Fi Fantasy cartoon Film Festival news Disney Musical directors Creative Arts Emmys Winners Martial Arts Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 73rd Emmy Awards Marvel live action Disney streaming service Polls and Games feel good Captain marvel 4/20 Mindy Kaling Crackle mutant Image Comics Television Academy cooking festival Black History Month 007 dceu Kids & Family Disney Plus Shudder Vudu true crime halloween Syfy animated The Academy psycho TBS Tubi Superheroes remakes Pet Sematary Animation Cannes Pirates obituary TV Land reboot Writers Guild of America TLC toy story Pacific Islander Star Trek nature legend boxing Freeform LGBTQ sitcom critic resources 2018 Disney Channel king kong BAFTA ABC cats singing competition Amazon FX on Hulu marvel cinematic universe Rocky video on demand Tokyo Olympics Turner Classic Movies Valentine's Day classics movie finale WarnerMedia DGA hist a nightmare on elm street Chilling Adventures of Sabrina debate IFC Films ABC Signature batman cinemax golden globe awards natural history PBS Year in Review 20th Century Fox video heist movie foreign breaking bad binge disaster chucky emmy awards Pride Month MTV 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards See It Skip It mockumentary Cosplay TIFF Amazon Prime VH1 telelvision dexter Avengers Star Wars TCA Winter 2020 Bravo posters Lucasfilm game show revenge E! Reality X-Men streaming movies Peacock Western San Diego Comic-Con ITV USA Network BBC One strong female leads Baby Yoda dramedy nbcuniversal Country kaiju Comics on TV renewed TV shows Elton John supernatural Nickelodeon GoT NBC nfl Holidays USA First Look sag awards movies slashers mission: impossible Sundance TV films Reality Competition Britbox deadpool suspense CMT Fox News Travel Channel GIFs Paramount Plus french Marvel Television olympics technology Paramount Network HBO Go Photos Cartoon Network Pop christmas movies die hard worst ID based on movie superhero Awards Tour serial killer DC Universe stand-up comedy Best and Worst australia target rom-coms theme song razzies Funimation Awards 90s new zealand Comedy football TV Columbia Pictures Comic-Con@Home 2021 BBC laika festivals HBO Max biopic robots independent Paramount anime Heroines indie Horror Discovery Channel Comic Book aapi Shondaland free movies vampires superman werewolf cancelled television Ghostbusters Disney+ Disney Plus screen actors guild diversity Alien twilight comic james bond Netflix Christmas movies TV renewals japanese crime drama rt labs critics edition Mary Poppins Returns young adult Thanksgiving stop motion comics monster movies what to watch ratings TruTV spanish language The Purge police drama documentaries golden globes OWN Trivia rt archives Summer comiccon Schedule Black Mirror American Society of Cinematographers Biopics italian series rotten movies we love mcc marvel comics Rock Infographic gangster book adaptation pirates of the caribbean Tarantino facebook Sneak Peek indiana jones TCA 2017 kids rotten Netflix criterion hollywood medical drama biography E3 BET blockbusters japan fast and furious hidden camera stoner zero dark thirty DC streaming service CNN transformers APB spinoff Logo Broadway ghosts Spectrum Originals period drama Nominations zombies Adult Swim comedies MCU universal monsters The Walking Dead Family Fox Searchlight GLAAD Hallmark Trophy Talk justice league boxoffice Starz spanish best NBA Video Games Emmys Spike casting Exclusive Video wonder woman MSNBC CW Seed OneApp romance parents 2015 ViacomCBS Sundance Now History SDCC Quiz VOD award winner franchise 99% BBC America political drama Song of Ice and Fire Showtime talk show zombie Brie Larson Universal Mystery Classic Film TCA Awards Winter TV 2017 joker Hear Us Out National Geographic Emmy Nominations adventure Election Set visit Lifetime Spring TV Character Guide cancelled TV shows El Rey high school Action Academy Awards Amazon Studios adenture satire The CW green book Food Network TNT comic books RT21 NYCC psychological thriller Music Watching Series sports Interview lord of the rings FXX composers popular rt labs Certified Fresh black Crunchyroll crime television Acorn TV children's TV Pop TV ESPN Red Carpet YouTube Red Tumblr 1990s TV One Chernobyl 2021 witnail adaptation cancelled PaleyFest Opinion Countdown Box Office Toys TCA Teen blockbuster child's play blaxploitation streaming Lifetime Christmas movies space cars Drama cancelled TV series Wes Anderson Hulu trailers Dark Horse Comics historical drama romantic comedy travel miniseries Superheroe Legendary Nat Geo YouTube reviews Trailer Arrowverse Holiday cults Marvel Studios Mary poppins Fall TV WGN ABC Family elevated horror harry potter IFC 21st Century Fox SXSW comic book movie women south america Apple TV+ Pixar Anna Paquin Women's History Month