A fumbling, desperately effortful teenage girl is telling a non-existent online audience how to be confident at the start of the deservedly acclaimed Sundance darling Eighth Grade. Kayla is both the narrator and subject of a new kind of teen movie — innovative and thrillingly honest, giving a voice to people warring with the noise in their heads for a lifetime.
Bo Burnham has renounced stand-up comedy to mould his cripplingly self-aware material into a truthful picture about growing up Extremely Online. Kayla perfectly represents the in-between girls — thriving (or at least, surviving) on the internet, stammering (when any sound comes out at all) out loud. It’s a world of endless scrolling, of Post-it notes and bullet points on how to show the world that Kayla is “really funny and cool and talkative”.