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

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