If your eighth-grader tells you they're going to a free movie this Wednesday, you might want to say no.
The Hollywood studio A24 says it will refuse to enforce the R-rating* on the movie Eighth Grade this Wednesday night, and will allow any eighth-grader in free in selected theatres around the country – with or without a parent. The storyline is billed as "an introverted teenage girl tries to survive the last week of her disastrous eighth-grade year before leaving to start high school."
But Plugged In's Bob Waliszewski says despite what one might read or hear about the film, it's not appropriate for children.
"Yes, there's some redeeming content; and yes, there's even some content that I wish junior highers could see," he tells OneNewsNow. "But one particular scene is just way over the top. It is way over the top for adults even, [so] it's certainly way over the top for junior high students."
While the film is about one girl's journey as she navigates eighth grade with all the awkwardness of braces and acne and the rest, Waliszewski says it might be most awkward for those parents whose child is sitting in the theater watching the movie.
"This is certainly not a film for junior high students," he emphasizes – then asks: "Can I put that with an exclamation point and maybe about 20 exclamation points?"
And he says that's a shame – because if not for the language and sex, he argues it would be a great movie. "Edit that [stuff] out, get it down to a PG-13, [and] I'd think very differently about this movie," he shares. "But the way it stands, this is not acceptable for eighth-grade students."
If there's any silver lining, says Waliszewski, it's this: the studio is only granting free admission to eighth-graders in one movie theatre per state.
According to Imdb.com, the MPAA rated the film R for "language and some sexual material." In fact, Eighth Grade drops the "F-bomb" numerous times, misuses the names of God and Jesus several times, includes more than a few other vulgarities – and depicts the main character's research into oral sex.
* Editor's note: Theaters are under no legal obligation to adhere to MPAA ratings. Since its adoption, the volunteer ratings system has existed primarily as a "gentleman's agreement" between MPAA and the National Association of Theater Owners.