Bo Burnham hits back at R rating for ‘Eighth Grade’ with free all-ages screenings, including one in the Boston area

The Hamilton native thinks the film's rating is "sort of stupid."

Bo Burnham at the Liberty Hotel.
Bo Burnham at the Liberty Hotel. –John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

As its title suggests, “Eighth Grade” is a movie about eighth grade. But due to an R rating, most eighth graders won’t be able to see the film without a parent or guardian.

Writer-director Bo Burnham thinks that’s “sort of stupid,” so he and distributor A24 are holding free screenings across the country for audiences of all ages, the Hamilton native wrote on Twitter Monday.

“Since Eighth Grade is rated R and that’s sort of stupid we’re doing free screenings in every state this Wednesday with no ratings enforced,” Burnham tweeted. “Come watch, kids!”

The free, all-ages screening in the Boston area will be held on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the AMC Liberty Tree Mall theater in Danvers, the theater Burnham frequented during his childhood. Tickets will be available at the theater starting at 6 p.m. and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

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Burnham isn’t the only one who has a gripe with his film’s R rating. In an article for Rotten Tomatoes titled “Why parents should ignore Eighth Grade‘s R rating,” Christy Lemire wrote that, while the film does feature occasional profanity, it mirrors “the way kids this age truly talk,” and its lessons about social media and the internet could be very helpful for a middle schooler to see.

“Like The Breakfast Club and Fast Times at Ridgemont High before it, Eighth Grade carries a rating that may make it seem too mature for your kids, but it’s probably exactly what they need to see right now as they figure out their place in the world,” Lemire wrote. “I highly recommend it for viewers who are in eighth grade themselves — and maybe even sixth or seventh — and older.”

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