I have been a fan of Bo Burnham for a while. To this point, I have mostly known him as a stand-up comedian/musician. With multiple comedy specials where he performs hilarious, and insightful songs. He is a tremendous lyricist and finds clever ways to phrase his songs where the lyrics often take on multiple meanings.
But now, he is making his directorial debut, and it is really impressive. The movie follows a teenage girl, who is about to finish the eighth grade. And for once, in a movie about teens, the characters actually look and act like teenagers. Bo took a chance and hired real teenagers, and it turned out great. Despite being young, the performances from most of these kids were really good.
But they also actually acted their age. I have seen so many movies like this that are just embarrassing because it becomes clear the director has no clue what kids today are going through, or how they act. For a particularly awful example of this, see the movie Cyberbully, which is so awful, it becomes hilarious. He does not over exaggerate the danger of the internet like so many of these types of movies do. He actually shows an understanding of how teens use technology, and how it impacts their lives.
The writing in the movie is really good. Many times the move is uncomfortable to watch, but that is the point. It isn’t supposed to be some pleasant feel-good movie. There are real emotions and moments in this movie, and sometimes it is not easy to watch.
The music is great and matches the movie perfectly. Bo did not write any of the music himself, despite being a musician, but he did a great job of selecting the music and implementing it into his movie.
If I were to complain about one thing, it would be the cinematography. The camerawork is a bit amateurish. There are times were the way the scene is shot is distracting from the movie. But it is Bo’s first time directing so I will give him a slight pass on this one. Hopefully, for his next movie, he can hire an experienced cinematographer to help out in that regard.
But the rest of the movie is very impressive. It has been one of the better movies I have seen this year so far, and I cannot wait to see what Bo does next.
Also, as an aside, it is bullshit this movie was rated R, and you should read my article on that topic here.