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

TCA 2017 ABC Family Superheroes Oscars Biopics police drama Red Carpet transformers 007 war facebook History Ellie Kemper Western ITV casting Walt Disney Pictures teaser strong female leads DirecTV doctor who docudrama Mary Tyler Moore Grammys Reality Competition Photos MTV Musicals X-Men FX Year in Review DC Comics anime Certified Fresh Columbia Pictures zero dark thirty Spectrum Originals nature NBC E! space Captain marvel Best and Worst crossover Disney Amazon GIFs Calendar mockumentary Character Guide MSNBC Creative Arts Emmys Ghostbusters cinemax Tomatazos science fiction CMT Star Wars Mudbound Toys crime thriller hist Hulu based on movie Comics on TV Paramount Network DGA Esquire TV Land Christmas award winner NYCC Emmys Pirates Warner Bros. BET E3 LGBTQ true crime Election Mary poppins CW Seed Cartoon Network Musical Countdown Sneak Peek technology talk show anthology Amazon Prime YA VH1 Premiere Dates President spy thriller 2019 Women's History Month witnail blaxploitation spider-man supernatural Rom-Com Apple SDCC Mindy Kaling FOX Brie Larson Nat Geo A&E jamie lee curtis Britbox comiccon comic psychological thriller Masterpiece disaster Set visit Disney Channel dramedy American Society of Cinematographers Paramount Trivia ESPN Winners TBS Tarantino Music 20th Century Fox OWN serial killer DC streaming service TruTV Awards boxoffice zombies zombie Sundance Now Pop Sci-Fi Star Trek TCM Song of Ice and Fire Cannes streaming green book New York Comic Con BBC America Nominations Nickelodeon TIFF USA Network golden globes Anna Paquin Marvel Reality TNT sports Syfy Marathons mutant Lionsgate elevated horror Shudder Stephen King Holidays Showtime 2017 YouTube Premium Dark Horse Comics Logo HBO Netflix Bravo Pet Sematary Winter TV 2016 Rocky IFC TCA Trailer 2018 BBC Interview 2015 Heroines Lifetime Kids & Family San Diego Comic-Con Epix 45 medical drama politics thriller cops WGN singing competition Starz Chilling Adventures of Sabrina First Look ABC The CW political drama APB psycho 21st Century Fox Sony Pictures Writers Guild of America crime drama Awards Tour Martial Arts biography DC Universe Spring TV Spike festivals adaptation dragons Vudu Rocketman Drama crime Podcast Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt GLAAD harry potter Film Festival Comic Book CBS Elton John The Arrangement Crackle GoT Ovation travel romance dc historical drama period drama binge FXX Comedy Thanksgiving Opinion Fox News dceu AMC Action Extras PaleyFest PBS YouTube Red Fall TV Black Mirror adventure cats Mystery See It Skip It diversity Lucasfilm SXSW Country sitcom Acorn TV cooking Video Games SundanceTV cults Comedy Central Schedule television Shondaland discovery Cosplay vampires Superheroe Quiz El Rey Box Office unscripted RT History Pixar TLC The Witch Fantasy RT21 richard e. Grant finale composers Food Network Watching Series USA what to watch TV Valentine's Day CNN Horror 24 frames Teen Universal sequel Trophy Talk Animation justice league Rock Polls and Games robots CBS All Access Super Bowl Infographic IFC Films Adult Swim Sundance Tumblr VICE MCU social media National Geographic theme song aliens Mary Poppins Returns miniseries natural history ratings Summer Freeform