Eighth Grade – Loving Doesn’t Always Include Liking

Eighth Grade – Loving Doesn’t Always Include Liking
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Eighth Grade – Loving Doesn’t Always Include Liking

I really want to believe the father Mark (Josh Hamilton). There he is pouring his heart out, trying to convince his daughter Kayla (Elsie Fisher) that, despite her very reasonable fears, she makes him happy. If I can believe him in this moment, then most concerns I have of being a parent are erased. That chief concern being how terrible it would be if your kid, who you are helplessly attached to, sucks. So again, I really want to believe him.

But I don’t.
I get that there are things you can’t truly understand until you experience them and that having a child falls into this category. Still, I remain skeptical that having a child is such a transformative experience that you lose all sense about the child. You’ll be biased, yes. You’ll love unconditionally, yes. But I can’t accept that these forces will be so overwhelming you’ll be able to ignore reality entirely.
Because that’s what Mark is doing in his fireside chat as he unbelievably forgets/lies/ ignores every single interaction with his daughter we’ve seen in the film. From the dinner table to the banana, being around her was awful. I’ll grant him that fatherhood would color these scenes more positively than if they involved a stranger. But happy? But like, yea I’m glad my daughter is home so she can make me feel stupid? Naw. Can’t buy it.

“Eighth Grade” did not make me THINK.

When we first meet Aiden (Luke Prael) and his award-winning eyes. He and the music were both perfect. A truly great laugh.
Then how about young Gabe (Jake Ryan) giving all would-be daters a clinic on how to make an evening special?
  1. Put some thought into the activity. No, money cannot stand in for thought. It’s why Gabe’s 100% free sauce display (and 100% fantastic) is more meaningful than a $75 steak that neither dater has an emotional attachment to.
  2. Be genuinely interested in your partner. This is obvious, but always worth a reminder. Gabe wants to know Kayla and it’s completely endearing.
  3. The best way to combat awkwardness is to call it out. Saying, “This is a bit awkward,” or “The dreaded long moment of silence,” or “I’d love to break this silence with something intelligent but my mind is totally blank right now,” gives everyone a chance to relax and laugh. It also shows a level of vulnerability all while usually displaying that both participants are experiencing similar emotions.

“Eighth Grade” made me LAUGH.

 

 

Adam Schaefer

Adam Schaefer

Adam likes banana flavoring more than bananas. His first R-rated movie was "Beverly Hills Cop 3." He is also a semi-famous somniloquist.
Adam Schaefer

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