Bo Burnham's brilliant new movie, "Eighth Grade," has been praised for its authentic portrayal of middle school life. Many writers, including our own critic Christy Lemire, have pointed out that the film's R rating should be ignored by parents, since the language and subject matter junior high schoolers encounter on a daily basis is rated R. "Like 'The Breakfast Club' before it, 'Eighth Grade' has an R rating that may seem too mature for kids, but it's exactly what they need to see right now as they figure out their place in the world," wrote Lemire in a special editorial at Rotten Tomatoes. "It’s so easy to feel detached from the rest of existence while imprisoned in junior high, and every single person currently enrolled in it is entirely of age to see this movie," wrote RogerEbert.com Assistant Editor Matt Fagerholm in his rave review.
Burnham, along with the film's star, Elsie Fisher, have encouraged parents and their children to see the film together, albeit at separate ends of the theater. Yet tomorrow, middle schoolers can take their friends to the movie instead. With "Eighth Grade" currently in theaters nationwide, the film's distributor, A24, is inviting moviegoers of all ages to attend free screenings of the picture tomorrow night—Wednesday, August 8th—in all 50 states. No rating will be enforced at these screenings. This is an invaluable opportunity for young people around the country to have an unforgettable moviegoing experience that will leave them feeling validated, hopeful and less alone—not to mention thoroughly entertained. Click here for showtimes and locations for tomorrow's free screenings, and click here to watch Burnham and Fisher's announcement about the screenings on Instagram.
When "Eighth Grade" closed the Chicago Critics Film Festival this past May, Burnham participated in a Q&A that culminated with him speaking onstage with an eighth grader in attendance (click here to see that part of the conversation). This footage tells you everything you need to know about the first-time filmmaker's insight, sensitivity and humanity.