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.


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

BBC doctor who Lionsgate TBS USA Network Action First Look hist Amazon Red Carpet USA CMT BET docudrama Polls and Games Box Office singing competition YA PBS History X-Men Ghostbusters 2016 Syfy Fox News The CW cops diversity MTV Set visit green book Animation Comedy Central MSNBC Super Bowl historical drama Warner Bros. zombie Shudder TCM crime drama TV Land 45 ratings Nat Geo Emmys Rocky 2017 Superheroe SundanceTV Nickelodeon Hulu Character Guide mutant Lucasfilm comic crime thriller travel DC Universe Writers Guild of America award winner Reality Competition E3 Mary Poppins Returns sitcom Acorn TV A&E social media NBC LGBTQ 24 frames Song of Ice and Fire WGN 2018 supernatural Country Winter TV Fall TV Thanksgiving composers Infographic Mary Tyler Moore Freeform Valentine's Day Awards Tour TNT GoT adventure Marvel SDCC political drama Mary poppins 2015 spider-man cinemax Creative Arts Emmys cooking medical drama Walt Disney Pictures golden globes RT History Sneak Peek Chilling Adventures of Sabrina 2019 FOX CW Seed war based on movie Marathons Interview crime romance Disney Channel ABC dceu Spring TV CNN Photos PaleyFest Tumblr robots Columbia Pictures El Rey CBS All Access Epix Cartoon Network Summer OWN blaxploitation TLC Music cats sports Horror TCA Dark Horse Comics Starz Cosplay Pirates what to watch Britbox Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Western dc See It Skip It TV finale Toys APB Rock SXSW comiccon unscripted President ESPN Extras Fantasy GIFs serial killer Sundance Now Holidays Trivia Crackle binge miniseries facebook FXX Trophy Talk Best and Worst Christmas Mystery Showtime discovery Sci-Fi anime Sundance Masterpiece Bravo Musical justice league harry potter TruTV VICE Shondaland Certified Fresh Netflix IFC Films TIFF Nominations DirecTV HBO Grammys American Society of Cinematographers Ellie Kemper Lifetime Logo San Diego Comic-Con VH1 Rom-Com spy thriller GLAAD Quiz cults 20th Century Fox Musicals zombies Oscars Comedy Universal YouTube Premium streaming AMC Mindy Kaling Winners Food Network Comics on TV jamie lee curtis Sony Pictures New York Comic Con IFC The Arrangement Awards Calendar Year in Review National Geographic police drama Election Premiere Dates Black Mirror technology Disney YouTube Red Paramount ITV politics Countdown aliens Opinion psycho Spike Biopics Pop dramedy vampires Watching Series Teen Kids & Family transformers Ovation boxoffice NYCC biography Reality Martial Arts E! period drama Tomatazos Comic Book Adult Swim Paramount Network ABC Family Star Wars Superheroes festivals Podcast DC Comics DC streaming service FX Esquire Star Trek BBC America Drama 007 television crossover TCA 2017 21st Century Fox Trailer Apple Video Games thriller science fiction Pixar CBS talk show Schedule