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A Quality Piece of Hard-Hitting Naturalism
PeteBDawg9 November 2002
8 Mile probably isn't what you expect. Given the cast and premise, you probably expect one of two things, either a silly excuse for self-aggrandizement or an overblown caricature of hip-hop culture. You don't get either. What you get is a brave film that is surprisingly culturally and intellectually rigorous and an aggressive film that is so emotionally intense that it seems to sometimes tear itself apart.

The plot is not a biography of Martial Mathers, a.k.a. Eminem, but it is very much informed and guided by the experiences of his early career as a rapper in blue-collar and no-collar Detroit. Eminem gives a compelled, powerful performance that diverges just enough from his public self to inject the story with a strong sense of realism without sacrificing anything artistically. The supporting cast also makes fine use of their considerable talents, carving the Detroit of this film out of the world itself, not out of fiction. Even as they help communicate a hard, unforgiving time and place, they also give rise to deep and profound sympathies that don't come around in every film.

The naturalistic presentation doesn't stop there; most of the film is shot on location in Detroit, and the gritty, sometimes almost frenzied design and cinematography firmly establish that this is not just another Hollywood movie. This is a movie that goes places movies don't generally go where, for good or for ill, many people do live every day. For one, 8 Mile might have the most believable, most powerful representation of an automobile factory of any film in the last twenty years, and it still manages to use the location for sophisticated, plot driving drama. Good stuff.

Of course, the film has its flaws. It's very heavy and bleak, at times it skirts the boundary of cliche a little bit, and the villains, a rival rap group known as the "Free World," are a little over the top, but, time and again, the solid acting and daunting camerawork keep coming back to seize the eye and command attention.

Oh, and, in case you were wondering, there is rapping, and plenty of it. The rapping is really top-quality, cutting edge stuff, for the most part, and it is integrated into the script so well that it is always clear that the characters choose to rap, not that the script forces them to do so. The rapping happens because it must happen to these characters at this time, not because Eminem is a rapper. In an industry where pop music movies are a dime a dozen, this is particularly impressive. This film says something about rap and the human experience that hasn't been articulated this well many times before; it bridges the gap between rap and poetry in a big way, and makes that gap look a lot smaller.

All in all, the thing that really defines 8 Mile is how committed to this idea the cast and crew must have been in order to make this film. Every minute and every second, the cast's intensity never gives up, and the camera never sleeps. The film is detailed, finely crafted, and has a pounding heart the size of a boxcar. If you don't mind the obscenity and violence (and there is a bunch), I'd definitely say this is a movie worth seeing.
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So, rappers CAN be actors...?
MissMill28 November 2005
I was afraid of this movie. For a long time I feared that one day, Eminem WOULD make a movie - and that movie would suck!!!!

Along it came, and you know what? It didn't suck. Man, was I relieved.

I have never been able to put a finger on Mr. Mathers' rapping skills, I think his technique is amazing. His rhymes are sharp and intelligent and he always performs them with pure justification. But could he take this to the big screen? He succeeded. In his debut movie he managed to play it real and natural. He had good on screen chemistry with pretty much all the characters, but especially with Brittany Murphy (Uh, gotta love that sex scene... That was hot.)

The final battles in the movie, are the absolute climax. If you ever had any doubts about Eminmems talents - one way or the other - you definitely know his worth now!

  • Some might say that it must be easy to play yourself, and it's not a secret that this movie is somewhat autobiographic. But it sure takes guts to put yourself out there like that, well done.

So 8/10
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Powerful silences
Chris Knipp11 November 2002
Those who are saying `8 Mile' shows a vanilla-ed Eminem may have a point: this movie introduces him to a non-rap audience just as `Wild Style' introduced us to hip-hop. But those who say Eminem is sanitized here for mall viewing have an odd notion of language. Perhaps his CD's contain more inflammatory material than is aired in this movie, but what gets said here is most definitely not for any suburban grandmothers who aren't stone deaf.

It's surprising - admirable, really - how well Curtis Hansen and his crew keep track of the plot from scene to scene when not much of it seems to matter other than Rabbit's problems with his mother, Stephanie Smith -- Kim Basinger. Bassinger is a blue ribbon southern white trash trailor park mom. You can't help feeling that with minor tweaking she could be the mother of a Grosse Pointe prep school boy, a lady whose problem was overspending instead of imminent eviction from a stinky trailor. Bassinger makes trashiness look attractive, just as she made movie star decay attractive when Hansen directed her in `L.A. Confidential' six years ago. Rabbit's problems with girlfriends aren't significant, though he has two of them, an ex and a new one. Both are delicious but primed for rejection. Rabbit's closest relationships are with his emcee pal `Future' (played by an utterly charming and huggable Mikhi Pfifer) and his slightly retarded token white homie, Cheddar Bob (Evan Jones).

But his closest relationship of all is with himself, as is clear from the first scene, where Eminem is doing rap gestures in the competition shed men's room, looking in the mirror, hearing his music in his head --and this is fine, because it's what a young man has to do: get on friendly working terms with who he is. The movie is about his going off to be on his own and give up his rowdy playmates to become a winner, and he walks off by himself in the final scene. The comparison with Shakespeare's Henry IV isn't out of place. The Shakespearean parallel was used explicitly for Keanu Reeves' character in `My Own Private Idaho' but the theme is really more central here. Eminem isn't a cold personality like Keanu Reeves in Van Sant's movie. He is close to his mates and they're always touching hands and gently hugging each other. The hands and the hugs are one of the main images that stay with you after seeing `8 Mile.'

Eminem as shown in `8 Mile' isn't totally motivated by his anger at all. His anger is very contained. He seems able to turn it on and off at will and release it only when he needs it -- to trounce rap competition or throw out his mom's sleazy boyfriend. It's his ability to control his anger that makes both Rabbit and Eminem winners.

Eminem does have an authenticity about him that makes for a strong presence on screen. Paradoxically he projects a powerful inwardness, so that his turning away from everybody makes his face jump out at us. His effect is of authenticity, because he doesn't put on a reaction to please the audience or suit the scene, but he is always there, moving with the scene and in fact creating it.

`8 Mile' isn't just a vehicle for Eminem. It's too well made a movie to be that. But without Eminem `8 Mile' wouldn't exist. The only importance of the rapping contests emceed by `Future' is that first Rabbit shies away from them, and then he enters them and wins them. You have to wonder how the rapper/actors feel who are in the movie only to be put down by Eminem.

`8 Mile' cannot escape from the limitations of the fictionalized star biopic. There have been dozens of movies about emerging music stars and their families, their early sponsors, their first big breaks, and so on, many of them with more range and specificity of detail than this one. This movie only takes its hero to the moment when he walks away, having shown that he can be a star. The whole focus is on his personality, and in particular his stillness. The most important moments are those when Rabbit/Eminem stands with mike in hand, silent, waiting for inspiration to strike. Even when he choses not to compete and hands the mike back, this moment is full of power. In this movie Eminem carries the expression of sheer imminence, raw potential, to a new level of clarity and confidence.

This rapper is good just standing there.
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Dark but interesting
Chuckles118 November 2002
I enjoyed this movie immensely. I thought it was a departure from the typical movies that star Hip-hop artists nowadays, which typically glorify the hip-hop lifestyle. Which is a very material lifestyle. This movie was pretty dark.

I thought Eminem did a good job acting. I mean he's not going to win any Oscars for this role, but he does a very good job acting. If not for who he is, then you wouldn't pay too much attention to his acting because that's how competent he does.

As most of you already have heard, this movie was based on Eminem's life, but none of the events are actually factual. His relationship with his mother (Basinger) is much more amiable than it is in real life, or at least how it comes across in his music.

Brittany Murphy acts as his love interest, but most importantly his muse.

There are some scenes that leave you scratching your head. One of which is the Eminem-Murphy love scene in the plant. It seems out of place and bad for the pacing of the film. Also Taryn Manning's role as the ex-girlfriend is almost unnecessary. The presence of her character is a key plot element that sets up the film, but the appearance of her character in the film by its end seems unnecessary due to the fact that it is underdeveloped. I wonder if there were more scenes involving Manning that were ultimately deleted via editing.

Overall I enjoyed the movie. Some may not enjoy it as much, but that's probably because they go into the movie with different expectations. If you're expecting something other than a hip-hop based film that subtly comments on social/economic/racial issues, and is a pseudo-rags to riches story, then you might be sorely disappointed.
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A warm reception for Eminem fans everywhere
dee.reid9 November 2002
"8 Mile" is the new film that features controversial rapper Eminem in his first starring role. The film itself is loosely based on his life growing up in Detroit. Eminem plays Jimmy Smith, Jr. a.k.a. "Rabbit", a young man who is struggling to make things better for himself through "battles", which are freestyling rap contests that are usually held at a local nightclub. Rabbit chokes when it is his turn to take the microphone for the first time. His best friend, Future (Mekhi Phifer) is the host of these battles and strongly believes Rabbit has potential, but the problem is that Future often makes his decisions before consulting with Rabbit first. Rabbit's home life is not much better. He's broke, has no place to live, he's stuck in a dead-end job at a steel mill, and his girlfriend Janeane (Taryn Manning) has fooled him into thinking that she is pregnant. Rabbit's mother (Kim Basinger), is on the verge of being evicted from her home and is slutting around with a man who is about the same age as her son. Things in Rabbit's life take a turn for the better when he later falls in love with Alex (Brittany Murphy), an aspiring young woman who dreams of becoming a model and moving to New York to start life a new.

"8 Mile" certainly is a moving and very touching drama. Eminem proves here that he really can act and in fact may have a future in motion pictures. This does not mean we will be hearing him thanking his producer Paul Rosenberg next year at the Oscars, but we can expect to him to receive a lot of praise for future movie roles. It's quite obvious that some people will not like "8 Mile", just because of Eminem's controversial history. The film also has one of the best soundtracks I've heard in a long time. Eminem's hit single "Lose Yourself" really does have a lot emotion put into it.

Eminem, since he burst onto the music scene in 1999 with his critically-acclaimed/lambasted album "The Slim Shady LP", he has been met with a lot of controversy, as well as praise. Despite the often humorous content of his songs, there are many dark under tones in them as well. In my opinion, too much has been made about his lyrics, most of which revolve around topics like homophobia, murder, and his failed relationship with his on/off wife, Kim. Despite all of this, I think that people have overlooked the fact that he said the only thing that truly matters to him is his daughter, Hailie Jade. Also, if people believed Eminem really was a homophobic, do you still think he would have agreed to perform "Stan" with Elton John?

As a longtime fan of Eminem and his music, I try not to let such criticisms get to me, but sometimes you just have to say "What the hell? Are they really necessary?" I don't think so. The problem is that people today are just too biased when it comes to people like Eminem. He's not another Vanilla Ice and "8 Mile" is not an attempt to cash in on his success like "Cool As Ice" was.

I have a list of grievances that people need to realize about Eminem:

  • First of all, do not disrespect this man. I feel that many of the people who hate Eminem have never actually listened to one of his songs. In my opinion, they have only listened to small clips that have been played on some discussion about his controversial lyrics. If you actually listened to some of his songs, you'll realize that he is a very distraught young person with a lot to say.

  • Don't watch "8 Mile" with a predetermined mindset. People who have already made up their minds about Eminem's talents are less likely to enjoy themselves much more than people who believe in him.

  • To non-believers, if Eminem really did not have any talent, like so many people seem to think now, how is it that all of his records: "The Slim Shady LP", "The Marshall Mathers LP", "Devils Night" (with group D-12) and "The Eminem Show" together have grossed more than $12 million? I think that it is a clear sign of TRUE TALENT.

  • Also do you believe had Eminem been black and rapping about such "controversial" subject matter, that he would be famous like he is now? No, because most likely no one would dare even produce him. That said, I'm African-American and I don't care that Eminem is white and is rapping about such things.

  • I think that too many people have made his race too big of an issue. Eminem knows that he is white and will be nothing else. He does not display to us a "thuggish" image that some people think that any rapper should have. Also, he does not rap about the things that some people seem to think is destroying rap music.

Eminem does have quite a future in store for him. I'm sure that we can expect to be seeing a lot more of him later on.
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8 Mile will have potent impact on America's youth.
malikona10 November 2002
It is rare that an established filmmaker and production company create something that young people are able to grasp the complete meaning of. Intellectual jargon or unnecessary vagueness of plot often take precedence over lucidity and appeal.

Eminem's "8 Mile" has managed to break this cycle, presenting in poignant audio/video style the nature of the life so many of our nation's youth live, and how despite it all there always remains the possibility to break through.

The film's meaning is largely overt, not subtle, and makes itself available to a much wider variety of viewers than most films with any sort of dramatic moral. Just look at the box office reports for "8 Mile"s opening weekend.

I won't attempt to speculate on the effect the film will have among our youth, but I personally believe it will be positive in nature. It will be impossible for this film to become as transient as an action blockbuster or as esoteric as a cult classic. It's depth and range of appeal are simply unparalleled in our time.
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Excellent Drama
Showtime84011 November 2002
I don't care for too many dramas, but "8 mile" was an excellent movie. Eminem was a better actor than I could have dreamed for him to be. He put on a great show, and kept me interested throughout the entire movie. Mekhi Phifer did an excellent job and is definitely a rising star in Hollywood. Brittany Murphy could have done a better job, but I didn't like her character development at all. It seems that she flip flops around so much that in the end you really don't know which side she truly plays. Kim Basinger did a good job. I don't watch too many of her movies. The last movie I saw of hers' was "Bless the Child" and that was a major let down.

As for the plot, don't go into the movie thinking that you're going to see the life of Eminem. This is not about Eminem's life. Eminem said it himself in an interview. Mekhi Phifer even said that he didn't want to do the movie because he thought it was about Eminem's life and that Hollywood was just trying to take advantage of a rising star, but this isn't the case. This is just as any other movie, but this is Eminem's acting debut. Even though there are certain things in the movie that relate to Eminem's life (ex. 8 Mile Road,) this is certainly NOT an autobiography.

If you go into "8 mile" expecting to see an action film with explosions and such then you're in for a let down. "8 Mile" is an amazing story about a white wannabe rapper trying to make it in the underground world of rapping. There isn't much action in this at all because it is a DRAMA, not an action. I hope you go see this movie if your in for a good story with some great characters!
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Good, but nowhere near perfect
RedOnTyson26 November 2002
8 Mile tells the story of a white kid on the wrong side of the tracks living in Detroit with a dead end job and a trailer park mom. Deep inside, he aspires to break free from the chains of the reality of his life through the poetry and passion and rawness of rap; the one place he can possibly gain a feeling of purpose and hear his own voice. Obviously, it's no big secret that this storyline runs very parallel to that of of Eminem's own roots and his own aspirations. Where fiction and reality collide is blurred and that works for the picture. First off, I think Curtis Hanson did a great job rebuilding that world and protecting his novice lead. He understood the material and I was drawn in to the world that he recreated. Also, the cinematography widely lends itself towards upping the ante of the picture and making you feel the authenticity of a world and a place where many of us have never traveled nor never will. As for Eminem himself, at first I found him a little stoic, but given the fact that this guy has never acted before, regardless of how 'autobiographical' the material may be, I thought he did a decent job in front of the camera. Hanson was wise to protect his lead with awesome supporting work from Mekhi Phifer and pretty much everyone else that portrays his friends and peers in the film. Eminem obviously was a little green and surrounding him with these actors gave the movie and Eminem's journey more credence. Brittany Murphy was also very good, but I found her character to be a bit expedient. She definitely was not used to her full potential and I felt that if they had used her relationship with Rabbit to a larger or deeper extent, it only would have lent more to the film. One of the scenes I was most impressed with was the sex scene between Murphy and Eminem. Gone were the Hollywood antics of glossing it up or ghetto fabulous and I felt that Hanson captured something that was fascinating, uncomfortable and realistic that I haven't seen in a Hollywood film before.

Now for what I feel made this movie not rise to the top... First off, when Kim Basinger first came on the screen and opened her mouth, I thought the rest of the film was going to be destined for failure. Not only was she weak in the role, she was grossly miscast. There are so many actresses in that age range that I find it mind boggling that Basinger was used for something in which she stood out like a fish out of water. The film also almost lost me in the beginning due to the length of the first scene in the bathroom when Eminem is psyching himself up. The placement of the scene wasn't a problem but it went on way too long - I would have prepared an edited down version. If you're watching Robert DeNiro for that long looking in a mirror, yes, it'll probably work, but to put that type of pressure on a first timer with no training, especially since it's shortly followed by Basinger's first scene was a risky move and one that I think they could have found a better choice for. The other thing that kept this film from being a totally strong film for me was the screenplay itself. I kept finding myself asking why the hell Scott Silver had some of these extraneous scenes in the story. There was a good story to be told here and a whole world to be explored by the general public that doesn't know that much of it, and the script and film could have and should have been a good 25 minutes shorter and tighter.

Anyway, still an intriguing film. And interesting insight into a different side of life and I commend Eminem for taking the risk. It's a lot to bite off and half the country is just dying for a chance to decimate him. If for nothing else, this film is worth the last 5 minutes. When he was up there battling, I actually started clapping and cheering out loud in the theater - no matter where he stands as an actor, when he's in his domain, he is fantastic, whether you like what he's saying or not.

A 7 out of 10 for a movie that was actually worth spending a budget on. Not perfect, but definitely it's own thing with some good moments. And when they're good, they're really good.
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Ok, I need to say something.
poetic_tyrant1 December 2003
I was moving around IMDB just now trying to sort of fill in the blanks of some random credits that I'd missed in my movie catalog, and I ran across this review of 8 Mile from this college student in NYC. Now, I never really write reviews because everyone's opinions vary distinctly and it seems kind of pointless to try to show them the "magic" of a certain movie if they refuse to see it, or to tell them how horrible it was as though I think that I'm really that much better of a director, writer, or whatever. But after reading such lines as "if you liked this film, you know nothing about film" and so on, I simply couldn't contain myself.

First off, let me start by saying that I in no way respect Eminem as an artist. I personally despise rap and the "culture" that it creates in society full of pumped up punks trying to act tough or "hard", as they struggle in a societal structure that they perpetrate upon themselves. In fewer words: I hate listening to constant bitching and dated slogans about bitches and benjamins. And after hearing about Eminem's wife-beating and all around socially retarded mentality, I wanted less to do with 8 Mile on the probability that he may be receiving a percentage of the ticket sales. But, after a time, I ended up renting it at Blockbuster for the hell of it, at least to give it a chance. I popped it in, and I was all set and ready to hate every minute of it... but ended up sitting through a movie that actually left me with a smile on my face.

For those who've not yet seen the film, I'll give some background of the story. Eminem plays Rabbit, a struggling Detroit freestyle rapper trying desperately to make a name for himself in the bustling Detroit underground music scene. Kim Basinger plays his alcoholic mother, miserable and bitter of where her life has ended up (in a trailer park, barely able to make rent or take care of herself). Mekhi Phifer plays Future, Rabbit's best ally and, in some ways, his father figure; playing the role of the protective, guidance providing, loving role-model. Conflict stirs in Rabbit's life as, through his bouts with stage fright and homelessness, he begins to question his ability to make it in the world of music as he wishes to; nearly becoming content to simply abide life as he knows it. But through his experiences and how he works through his own personal problems, he starts to see his path better and more clearly.

Now, I grew up in a very small town. A farming community in the middle of nowhere, where my nearest neighbors where half a mile away. I hated every minute that I was there and felt trapped in a world there that I didn't feel welcome in or a part of. Aspiring to become a filmmaker when everyone tells you you're an idiot for even thinking of it isn't easy. Which is probably why I related so much with this film. Rabbit's own experiences as well as his mother's criticism of him and his life make him feel trapped within his station of life, feeling as though his own specific voice isn't being heard, and trying desperately to change that. Anyone who doesn't recognize this is someone that I would generally think was lucky enough to not be born into this type of community structure with ideals that conflicted with the generally accepted norm; as it's thoroughly developed throughout the story. And the story... the story develops nicely over time. It never feels rushed or thrown together hastily just to make a movie with the star power of Eminem. That COULD have happened, and it COULD have made a lot of money for everyone involved. Instead, a director was chosen who understands pacing of a story, importance of cinematic elements throughout a story (i.e.: not just putting actors on screen to say their lines and that's it), and who just understands the elements of how to tell a good story on film. They even gathered a supporting cast of actual actors who've proven themselves as true artists within their craft in the past, and didn't just hand off the part to one of the executive producer's nieces or nephews or whatever. Scott Silver's loose adaptation of the life of Eminem was tweaked just enough to skew from Eminem's specific life, and become more universal in it's ability to portray a struggle that millions of artists go through around the world. All of these elements, along with my surprise at the actual acting ability of Eminem, combine to tell a story that feels deeply personal while very universal, and can be related to by more people than simply myself. It tells a story of never settling for what you can get just because it's easier, and that hard work and dedication are the only ways to dig your way out of a perpetual cycle that you may find yourself a part of.

To close, this is by no means the best movie that I've ever seen. Not even close. But that doesn't mean that it's not a prime example of filmmaking at it's best. A movie doesn't have to be the best thing since disco in order to be any good... it simply has to have a purpose and a message, and portray those with clarity and honesty; which this movie accomplishes in spades.

See this movie.
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Not a great story – but has good moments and a good central performance
bob the moo28 January 2003
Jimmy Rabbit is a white kid on the poor (black) side of town. Growing up with this influence he has developed rapping skills but is too intimidated to showcase in the cruel `Shelter' battles. Split from his girlfriend, Jimmy returns to his Mum's trailer park home and her young boyfriend. He keeps his job in a pressing shop while working on his rhymes and trying to work out who, out of all the hopes and promises, will be able to help him work his way out of Detroit.

After missing preview screenings and not being able to go when friends went, I eventually saw this a few nights ago. I was maybe better prepared by this point because the hype had been watered down by a few bad or balanced reviews of the film in the media. This helped me lower my expectations so that I wasn't let down. The plot is, well, difficult to describe because there isn't really one narrative to speak of, rather it is Rabbit's story. As a result it is a little rambling with things just drifting through the film. However that it still works is to it's credit. The film holds the attention and the story still has enough in it to follow it.

The telling is what does it the best I think. The direction is good, with washed out cameras not willing to glamorise anything. The biggest smart move was the liberal use of hip-hop through the film. Occasionally we get a beat of a song but it isn't wall to wall music like many rapper's films. Even where a Eminem track is played, Em's voice is limited to a few broken up words – saving his skills for the climax. Some of the film doesn't work – I got tired of several rap scenes in everyday situations and it didn't grasp me as reality (although in fairness I don't know if this is the norm in some lives). Also there are a few too many scenes of meaningless violence that didn't come across as normal life for Rabbit but instead felt like the film trying to show Rabbit to be tough and ready for action.

It is difficult to write a fair review after seeing the climax – which his why I left it a few days before writing this. The climax is a series of short battles in the Shelter that are pumping and exciting. Not to spoil it but some of the rapper's lines are cool – until Em takes his turns and rips the place down. It was so funny and funky that I wished that he had made some of his own joints that sharp in his recent Benzino disses. This is where he shines in the role but he also does well generally – maybe not worthy of an Oscar nomination but certainly very good. He makes his character likeable but not easily, and he avoids being a sympathy figure.

Phieffer is not as good and didn't convince me as well as I've seen him do. He can act but here he is not really a good character. The support cast are all pretty good and are believable and only a few are clear stereotypical groups. Happily the usual rapper cameos are minimal and not in your face too much. There may be more but I only spotted Xhibit and Obi Trise and neither of them took anything away by their presence. Murphy is pretty good – sexy yet trashy – but her character and her sub-plot didn't really have anywhere to go and just became another part of the wandering story. Basinger is OK but she isn't as bad as I expected her to be (or felt she needed to be). She didn't need to be like his Mum in the songs, but a little less `victim of circumstance' would have helped buy into it.

The message is worthy but heavily made and the story part of the film just didn't totally come off for me – instead it was a bit ordinary and not well written. However the telling makes it worth seeing – the direction is pretty good and the liberal use of music is one of the many good touches, meanwhile Eminem ensures that it is always worth watching – whether doing witty disses in a car park, ripping the opposition in a battle or just being understated in a good role. Understated! Now there's a thing I thought I'd never say again about a rapper in a lead role of a film since Pac died!

Like him or loathe him, Eminem prevents an average (at best) story being unwatchable by the sheer strength of his presence. However those who aren't fans of hip-hop or Eminem may wish to avoid this, as there ain't too much else on offer.
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Cool, refreshing
Savo Bojovic13 February 2006
This movie is something that really refreshed the Hollywood studio.It's preety different than the other movies because of it's really interesting plot and great cast(including Eminem).I have to say that Eminem did an amazing job on his debut and that he really was fascinating in a role that is maybe very autobiographical.Phenomenal soundtrack including 50 cent and Xzibit and of course "lose yourself"-the academy award winner.I think that the rap contest scenes are the best part of the movie, because they were made so realistic.After all, a movie that is surely creating maybe even an another genre in something that i called movie industry and a great try !
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Great Film
daveym-649-44496231 July 2017
Watched this for the first time in 10 years recently. What a great film. A real statement of its time. Everything that was bad in the USA in the 1990's is perfectly illustrated, giving food for thought as well as inspiring empathy for a lost generation of young poor Americans. Living in Trailer parks, caught up in gangs - black against white.

All this is the backdrop for some of the cleverest wordsmiths around, creating Rap and Hip Hop music including one Oscar winning song

Won't be to everyone's taste - but everyone should watch it once in their lifetime
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Perfectly watchable-but not brilliant
davideo-24 February 2003
STAR RATING:*****Unmissable****Very Good***Okay**You Could Go Out For A Meal Instead*Avoid At All Costs

8 Mile is controversial Detroit rapper Eminem's eagerly anticipated acting debut.It was probably a good idea for his first time in front of the camera to stick to material relatively close to home and appear in a movie that is more-or-less semi-autobiographical.Does he pull it off?Yes,he more than passes muster.Being his first time,he hasn't quite mastered a naturalness that he would need to develop in order to be considered a truly amazing acting force,but he certainly tries very hard and carries himself very powerfully.The rest of the main cast,Kim Basinger,Mekki Phyiffer and Brittany Murphy,however,turn in merely adequate,passable performances which are less acceptable for more experienced actors.It doesn't help much that they are given such contrieved,unoriginal dialogue to work with,though.The film's other real fault is that the story has no real sense of structure or coherence.Although the central character and the situations and people he becomes involved with are very engaging,there's no real actual plot to follow and this ends up becoming quite a distracting hinderance.A good recommendation about the film however,is that it really comes alive towards the end,making you just able to care about the end outcome.The rapping sequences are great fun to watch too,watching the characters spurt out catchy,bouncing tunes that get lodged in your head,especially during the 'choking' scenes.Although this doesn't quite match up to director Curtis Hanson's original movie L.A. Confidential,it is easily on a par with his last film,Wonder Boys.***
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this is a movie you can really 'lose yourself' in.
haydenisticparadise10 November 2002
This movie was amazing! I was pleasantly surprised! I wasn't an Eminem fan going into the movie but I'm certainly one now. Seeing how different things are on the 'other side of the tracks' was a big eye opener for me. I loved the script, the actors, the music - basically I loved everything all the way down to the lighting. It's got everything for everyone in it! Comedy, drama, action, fighting, guns, drugs, sex, and of course - Bunny Rabbit. I loved the movie. I laughed so hard I cried at times and then I just flat out cried at others. I would HIGHLY recommend it to everyone whether they are an Eminem fan or not. Do be careful trying to get into it though. We had to go to four different movie theaters before my 16-year-old friend could get in. They're checking I.D.'s on this one BIG time. Anyway - go see the movie! You'll love it! I swear on my grave it's the best movie that I've seen in a long time!
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A Movie Requiring contemplation
kliq8 November 2002
The end credits rolled, and I made my mind up that the movie had dissapointed me, but 8 Mile is for the intelligent. Upon introspection, I realised that the very essence of 8 Mile was its non-flashy, keeping it real kind of setting. Honestly I expected a rags to riches story, but I got the exact opposite. The movie is the story about one and a half months in a young white man's life, where his mindset undergoes major change. When you realise that the movie is trying to show this, it starts to shine, when you realise the 'realness' of the movie it shines even more, and finally when you watch Bunny Rabbit walk of the screen with a peace sign in the air, no better than he was in the start, with 'Lose Yourself' jiving in the background, you know the movie is worth it. Watch the movie, enjoy the battle scenes, decide its nothing great, but then give it some thought, you'll see what I see. 8/10.
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The exhilaration of seeing and hearing young people fight with `vocabulary' rather than guns.
jdesando5 November 2002
Eminem is a `wonder-boy' product of the white–bread underclass of outraged, disenfranchised youths from a bleak Detroit in ` 8 Mile.' Curtis Hanson directed `Wonder Boys' with the same sense of caring about youths emerging for better or worse into their adulthood. But the star of this film is Eminem, and although it is a fictional story about Jimmy Smith, Jr. (called `Rabbit'), it is a loose adaptation of Eminem's rise from the ghetto of Detroit, on the dividing line of the 8-mile strip separating blacks from whites.

The comparison with `Rocky' is inevitable and not wholly inappropriate. In sports and rap, blacks have proven formidable. When a white like Rocky or Eminem can emerge as a powerful force in either field, the world has to notice, and films have to record and adapt. Eminem's astounding ability to rhyme and chant obliterates all color barriers.

For a white guy like myself, the joy of `8 Mile' has nothing to do with turning up my nose at the brothers with my own white hope; rather it is the exhilaration of seeing and hearing young people fight with `vocabulary' rather than guns. Rhyme and reason rule. The art form is important as it comments both on culture and creativity.

Director Hanson said, "I saw here an opportunity to make a serious movie about the emotional struggles of contemporary adolescents in this country. This captures the angst, insecurity, frustration and anger, search for direction and identity." That statement emphasizes the teenage universal search rather than the obvious power of hip-hop, to Hanson's credit. The producer, Brian Grazer, also made `A Beautiful Mind,' another exploration of genius that transcended math in favor of the search by a gifted human being for a place to be himself.

This fictional biography doesn't claim to be a definitive revelation of the difficult rise of Eminem. It does show the inner struggle of Rabbit to break from the comfort of having a job in an auto factory, similar to Bjork's bleak plant in `Dancer in the Dark,' or striking out into creative territory dominated by blacks but promising release from the trailer park where his mother (Kim Basinger) is imprisoned. Lost in this somewhat sanitized adaptation is the angry homophobia and misogyny so characteristic of Eminem in real life. But gained is the sense that hip-hop is an important cultural contribution even white boys can offer.
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Thanks Curtis Hanson!
crawford12 November 2002
Curtis Hanson is turning out to be one of our great directors. LA CONFIDENTIAL was a look at LA during the 1950's that was near perfection as far as films are concerned. WONDER BOYS was a highly entertaining look at characters who live in PITTSBURGH, again the city was as much a character as any of the actors.

Now Curtis brings us a look at DETROIT in 8 MILE and I was so impressed. Yes I am a fan of Eminem and yes I think he's cute (that combination of bad boy and lost little boy is just irresistible) but the movie is a quality drama which I think all audiences will appreciate if only they'd open their minds a little and go see it.

I was so happy to be in a theater with a mostly under 25 crowd (at 31 I was the oldest person in the place!) and we were there to watch a quality film about a kind of life that most of us can only imagine. The audience of young people were silent at first - the anticipation of Eminem's entrance was almost palpable. And throughout the film the audience continued to be engrossed by the realistic characters and the story. A whole audience entertained by drama and acting and not one special effect! Not one!

We weren't there to watch a stupid brainless action film or a gross-out comedy. 8 MILE is one of those classic films that most A-list actors can only hope to appear in maybe once or twice during a long career and it's the kind Eminem makes on his first time out? The boy has brains for sure and talent. I don't think the John Garfield, James Dean comparisons are too far off - Eminem has charisma to spare. I don't think I want to see him continue to do more acting because 98% of the films he could do are such crap. How do you follow up a truly great film like this?

I'm so impressed. I just hope that older people and hip-hop haters will get out and see this film too, it'll open their minds.
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8 miles and 10 stars
Shevy110320 March 2013
Eminem. The greatest rapper of all time! That's my opinion anyways, and a lot of others too. This movie, based on his life, the start of his career, is brilliant! I've seen it time and time again, and I'm going to keep seeing it until the end of time. Yes, it is that good! So believe me when I say, watch it dog, watch it today.

This movie is filled with both action and comedy, brilliant music and awesome beats. It has got hot chicks, drunken bastards, gang wars and stupid dicks. The start, ending and the rest of the movie was simply brilliant. So I won't get started and describing or saying anything else about any of that. It started at the bottom and it worked its way up, until it hit the top. It has got a lot of different characters. Characters that's played by great actors. There was no bad acting in this movie, not one bit! The script is brilliant, because it is simply brilliant and great in every way, and the fact that it's based on a story from the real world doesn't hurt either. This movie is just 2 hours of brilliancy! That is all there is to say about that.

So, it is filled with loads of great scenes and awesomeness. The best part though I must admit was the lyrics they came up with. When you see this movie, and you really should, pay attention and listen to what they rap, the wordplays, the rhymes, the insults and the funny words that come out of their mouths. And if you have already seen it, watch it again, you know you won't be sorry.

I could go on and on and on about how great this movie was and the fact that I couldn't find a single bad thing to say about it even though I have probable seen it 30 times or so (I am not kidding. That Is not a lye or overstatement, that is the truth.) but there is no point in going on saying that the rapping and all the other music was great and that I know the lyrics to all the rap-offs in this movie, word by word, or that it is so great that it is a sin to go your entire life without watching it. There is no point to it because you already know all this. I have already said it was perfect, give or take and that nothing is negative about it so going on and on about how unbelievably awesome it is, it's just a waste of time. So I am going to end this right here and right now. I am giving 8 mile 10/10 stars and with a perfect score I highly recommend it and expect that you see it as soon as you can get your lazy ass out of that chair and away from your computer screen and move it over into the couch in front of the TV.

Rating: 10/10 Goodnight, bonsoir, guten nacht, god natt and Buenos noches.

Peace & love God Bless

  • J.J.Shevy
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Amazing movie. period.
shadyzlady55526 June 2007
I am probably one of the biggest Eminem fans walking this earth, so automatically I'm going to love this movie. But in reality, I do really love this movie, even if Eminem wasn't the main actor. It really is able to portray the life of those less fortunate than most, looking to get to their dream.

Of course right away most think this movie is about Eminem's life but it truly isn't. There are tiny little facts that can relate to him (having 4 guys that are always there for him, and one main one...which would be D12 and Proof being his best friend) but the movie isn't about his life. If it were, then he definitely wouldn't be on good terms with his mother in the movie and the little girl would be his actual daughter.

Eminem does an excellent acting job, along with Mekhi. The story is really moving and shows a great development in Eminem's character, Rabbit. I really loved this movie and although Eminem had a lot to do with it, it'd still be incredible without him playing that character.
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You can lose yourself in 8-Mile. It's a pretty good movie.
ironhorse_iv22 June 2014
Warning: Spoilers
It's time for a Battle! Directed by Curtis Hanson, the movie is a semi-autobiographical account of Eminem's early years in Detroit, struggling to make ends meet and get his rap career off the ground. The film stars Eminem as Jimmy "B-Rabbit' Smith, whom life isn't going anywhere. He can't seem to get any respect among with his peers after choking in a previous rap battle tournament. The only way, he could show the world, he meets business, is to sign up for a new rap battle and challenge the best rapper in Detroit, Papa Doc (Anthony Mackie), the leader of the local famous rap group gang 'Free World' and win it all. Will he win it? You got to watch it to find out. Without spoiling too much of the movie, the movie borderlines Eminem real life. Instead of the crazy Eminem Slim Shady that spit out hateful, violent, and somewhat silly lyrics, ranging from killing his wife, homophobia to making jokes about celebs. You really get a motivational type of a film about going after your dreams. You really see, Eminem as Jimmy grow into a positive responsibility for the direction of his life. It was very mature. Honestly, I don't think this movie would had work, if it's was all about moaning and groaning Slim Shady. I glad, Eminem took this seriously. After all, after this movie, his music had gotten more serious, and less Slim Shady like. Eminem even took an Oscar for Best Song that year for "Lose Yourself". It was the first time a rap/hip-hop song win an Academy Award reward. That's a big deal! Is Eminem, the best rapper? It's up in the air, depending what you think is music. After all, 2005's Encore & 2009's Relapse were some of his worst albums ever. Thank God for 2010's Recovery. But, it's still hard not to find yourself, jamming to "Lose Yourself" when you need a boost in your life. You can't help seeing how great, the raps were written in the film. My favorite one had to be the courtyard battle with the Xhibit cameo. Yeah, most of the raps were pretty funny and clever, both from Eminem and the lyrics from his real life friends, playing opponents like Proof who play Lil' Tic in the film. The acting is pretty good, all around. Eminem has never acted before this, but regardless of how 'autobiographical' the material may be, he did a great job. The supporting cast was pretty good for the most part. Mad props go to Mekhi Phifer as Jimmy's mentor, Future. Brittany Murphy as Alex, Jimmy's love-interest is mostly a miss than a hit for me. I don't find her attractive. Eminem-Murphy love scene in the plant was bit out of place. Taryn Manning's role as the ex-girlfriend is almost unnecessary. The only female character that really matter in this film, is the alcoholic mother (Kim Basinger) as she play a great dealt in Eminem's life. I did find the whole sub-plot of her losing her home, a bit underdeveloped, as surprising near the climax, she miraculous won the bingo in a deus ex machina like fashion. I did love the symbolism of the burning house in the state of present day Detroit. Indeed the movie demonstrates processes of race, class, and segregation in the urban lower socio-economic environment. Indeed, it's hard to be proud of your neighborhood, when there are streets upon streets of abandoned building where people do drugs, murder, and loot. You really see how economic devastation and de-industrialization can hurt a city. Most of the movie is how much living in Detroit sucks type patting, until the predictable Rocky style final battle. It should had been shorter than its 110 minute run time. Honestly, another thing that bug me is that the movie is place in 1995's Detroit, but there is little to no mention of the time period. They should just save money and claim it was present day, because when I first saw it, I thought it was year 2002 in the settling. For an Eminem movie, it's pretty tame in the language and the violence. Don't get me wrong, it's R Rating for a reason, but I really think the producers were going for a PG-13 rating here. Yes, there's a lot of harsh language, but it didn't seem oddly place. Overall: If you're looking for a good urban underdog movie. You found one.
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Really, one of the best musicals I've ever seen.
Spuzzlightyear19 June 2006
I will say this, despite my reputation for hating popular movies (look at my other reviews!) I have to say that 8 Mile ranks right up there as one of the best movies I've ever seen. Certainly it's one of my favorite musicals, even though it REALLY doesn't count as a musical per se. Eminem stars as a rapper trying to Make It Big while facing, oh you know, the White Trash Blues, eg, living in a trailer park, a next to nothing job, Kim Basinger etc etc. The only thing the of course keeps his motivated is his music, and trying to make it big in Detroit. Although he is quite talented, a lot of red tape stands in his way, eg, power hungry producers, gang members, Gillian Murphy, etc etc. What an amazing debut Eminem gives here. I guess since this is partly geographical, Mathers was able to put some of his own life into the character, but, with the glut of rap stars now appearing on the silver screen, Mathers is one definite standout. It will be interesting to see how he takes on a completely different character role (like he is rumoured for in the 'Have Gun Will Travel' movie).
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Explosive, 21st Century Take on the Macho Rock 'n' Roll Movie
noralee19 December 2005
"8 Mile" forcefully brings rock' n' roll movies into the 21st century.

While it has striking similarities to Elvis Presley and Beatles movies in how it uses autobiographical elements to make its similarly charismatic lead star comfortable in a new medium to sort of present his own story, Curtis Hanson's direction and the cinematography of Rodrigo Prieto (of "Amores Perros") create a thrilling environment for him to explode.

Like "L.A. Confidential," Hanson is terrific at getting up close in macho environments and bringing us right into their verbal and actual violence. While I'm quite sure my ignorance of hip hop slang and culture led me to miss references and the point of much conversation, it did seem to me that Hanson captured the why and how behind Eminem's rage.

The movie's climax is the epiphany when his constructive genius takes over as he learns to channel his anger into his lyrics, and to even take it a level beyond the insulting toasting of the local Detroit battle-of-the-rappers to forge a new persona (what will eventually become Slim Shady among other images) and a new kind of rap that will sweep the nation.

It is ironic that here in Detroit (or as the dialog and the credits call it - the 313) how few of the young adults have cars (even though Eminem's character is working in an auto parts plant), and are constantly cadging rides from each other to avoid the humiliation of taking the bus.

Of course the women in this desolate Motor City, that is an urban recall of the "Mad Max" movies, are either beloved innocents or are traitorously duplicitous; I was taken aback how much of a calculating groupie Brittany Murphy's character is, unlike the usual devoted, loyal girlfriend in such movies.

If the closing song is originally written for the movie (and I don't know if the sing-along audience had seen the movie before or knew the soundtrack), it should be considered for Academy Award "Best Song" as it brilliantly describes the movie and the character's post-life.

It was not appropriate, however, for a parent in the row behind me to bring a small child to this film (and not just because the kid talked through the whole movie); even if they expose them to profanity-laded rap music at home, this is a mature movie with mature scenes that would be quite disturbing to young children.

(originally written 12/15/2002)
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Not great but interesting
MovieAddict201610 December 2005
"8 Mile" is basically a biopic of singer Eminem. That he plays the lead character in the film just gives more reason to believe this. Kim Basinger, who plays his mother, allegedly based her own role on Eminem's accounts of his real mother.

It's about a young white rapper from Detroit who wants to make it big but has to cope with personal issues along the way, which he vents about through his music.

Curtis Hanson ("L.A. Confidential") is a surprising choice for director but it works out well - the film has a grungy, gritty urban feel to it.

The acting is pretty good - Eminem got a lot of attention when the film came out but to be fair he's really just playing himself; I wasn't in awe of his performance as some critics claimed to be. Basinger turns in a sleazy performance as his sexually active, emotionally abusive trailer park mother.

The soundtrack also features the Eminem song "Lose Yourself" - one of few rap songs I actually enjoy listening to.
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Best film ever!!
Fish_Go_Moo17 September 2003
Ok admittedly I am Eminem's biggest fan ever to begin with, but there is no bias!! This really is the best film ever! Eminem is amazing in it, and he looks sooooooooooooooooooooooo fit (which of course helps, but in my opinion he always looks fit, but this film can really convert Eminem haters into people who love him!) This film is really the best thing ever, and you cannot watch it too many times! I would still recommend this film even if you don't like rap much or like Eminem much because it has a really good plot and you will enjoy it anyway! And ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh i love Eminem....and I will really shut up now but really it is the best film ever! Peace out Rabbit!!!
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Not as good as I expected
Adam Cohn30 March 2003
I have a lot of respect for Eminem's music, and really enjoy some of his material. After all the hype from unlikely mainstream sources that said this movie was legitimately good, I expected to be impressed, but I wasn't.

The music was good, the raps were good, and the sets were great, but the film itself was unimpressive. The plot just plodded along, and the characters never really drew much emotion from me. It was just a pretty bland story, with pretty bland acting. I expected Bunny's mom to be more intense, I expected Bunny to to be more interesting - more like the persona I hear in his music and see in his videos.
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