Box art for 8 Mile

8 Mile

drama


Eminem wins by a knockout! raves Rolling Stone, as the Grammy Award-winning phenomenon makes his feature film debut in this gripping story about the boundaries that hold us back - and the courage that can set us free.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
    76%
  • Audience Score
    53%

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 15
Consumerism
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
Language
5 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
Sex
5 out of 5
Violence
5 out of 5

Eminem's edgy, graphic quasi-biopic is not for kids.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that the movie is rated R for nonstop profanity, violence, drug references, and very explicit sexual references and situations. Characters vandalize and burn down an abandoned house, and a character accidentally shoots himself. There's a reference to child rape. Eminem's character has an unstable mother who's living with a boyfriend his age, and she speaks to her son in very inappropriate ways about her sexual relationship. Some viewers will be upset by the neglect of the main character's sister, a little girl who witnesses violence, family fights, a mother who drinks and has sex with a young man, and other abusive situations.

what families can talk about

  • Families who see this movie could talk about what changed in Rabbit's life to give him the guts to perform. Why was his willingness to insult himself before anyone else could a show of strength that was more devastating to his opponent than an attack could be? How is Eminem in the tradition of white musicians of the past who became successful by appropriating the music developed by black performers? Why did Future support Rabbit? Why did Rabbit support Bob?Families could also talk about the way the movie makes clear that having sex with someone should not be confused with thinking that you know the person or that you have a relationship. What were the signs that Alex was more interested in her career than in getting to know Rabbit? Note that in one scene, a character watches a short excerpt from a movie called Imitation of Life in which a black woman discovers that her daughter has been passing for white at school. Why would the director chose that scene to include? Families could also talk about how they feel about Eminem's lyrics and why they have been so popular with both teenagers and critics.

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    76%
    reviews counted: 27
    see all 8 Mile reviews
  • Audience

    53%

Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: I have to go back to James Dean in Elia Kazan's East of Eden and Nicholas Ray's Rebel Without a Cause in 1955 to find a comparably jolting piece of male aggressiveness coupled with bottled-up vulnerability.

- Andrew Sarris, New York Observer, Friday, November 22, 2002

Rotten: The payoff comes after an hour and a half of a long, criminally tiresome setup.

- Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, Friday, November 8, 2002

Rotten: Unfortunately, 8 Mile does waste a lot of time dawdling over just about everything else ... until it finally begins to sputter at about the 6 mile mark.

- Bruce Newman, San Jose Mercury News, Friday, November 8, 2002

Audience Reviews

3 stars

8 Mile is actually quite good! I say this in surprise as I was convinced I would hate it. It is not without fault however, some of the scenes I feel should have been cut, left on the cutting room floor, pissed on, then burnt and then pissed on again. That said, Eminem was quite good and the story was solid, the script could have been better but Curtis Hanson bought it all together relatively well. The highlight for me was the ending, it was predictable that he won the battle but what I liked about it most was that he went straight back to work afterwards, sending out a positive message without descending into Hollywood slush.

- SirPant, Monday, November 8, 2010

4 stars

a really great movie. I loved it and I love eminem. he's one of the best rappers alive and a great actor. B+

- bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb1, Monday, October 18, 2010

4 stars

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.

- stopitgoaway, Sunday, December 27, 2009