8 MILE stars controversial white rapper Eminem as a sensitive young man who tries to control his emotions as he attempts to conquer the black world of rap in Detroit city in 1995. Despite some positive moral and redemptive elements in this well-made movie, MOVIEGUIDE® cannot recommend it because of its super-abundance of foul language and its brief depictions of fornication and marijuana use.
Controversial white rapper Eminem tries to soften his reputation a little bit in the new movie 8 MILE, directed by Curtis Hanson, who also did L.A. CONFIDENTIAL. Though the movie is laced with a super-abundance of very strong foul language, some sexual content and other negative elements, Eminem’s character comes across as a sensitive young man struggling to control his emotions. His character also displays compassion toward other people in a few scenes, especially the young man’s little sister, who’s being taken care of by their lazy, alcoholic mother.
Set in Detroit in 1995, 8 MILE opens in a rap nightclub with a nervous young man named Jimmy “Rabbit” Smith. Jimmy, played by Eminem, is taunted by the black crowd when he chokes during the weekly rap insult battle that Jimmy’s friend, Future, runs. Jimmy, Future and their crew are trying to break into the record industry. Despite his failure, Jimmy’s friends assure him that he is the best and he’ll do better next time. Jimmy is not so sure, however. He works at a dead-end factory job, and he has to go back to living with his unemployed mother, who is living in a rundown trailer park with her no-good, much younger boyfriend and Jimmy’s vulnerable little sister.
Wink, another young black man in the neighborhood, promises to help get Jimmy a free session to record a demo tape, but Wink also helps out a local group known as The Free World, the rivals of Jimmy’s own crew. Jimmy and his friends have a few confrontations with The Free World. A couple of these confrontations break out into potentially life-threatening scuffles. Jimmy’s friend Future warns Jimmy not to put his trust in Wink.
Meanwhile, Jimmy struggles with his mom’s abusive boyfriend and has problems with his boss at work. Jimmy makes an effort to control his emotions at work and starts seeing a young blonde girl, Alex (played by Brittany Murphy), who wants to be a model.
Two friends betray Jimmy, however; his mother experiences problems with her boyfriend and takes it out on Jimmy; and, the war between Jimmy’s crew and The Free World turns dangerous. Can Jimmy find the strength and courage to overcome these obstacles and win the respect of the other black people in this harsh battleground, where the soldiers wield words like weapons and victory belongs to the quick-witted?
8 MILE may remind many viewers of the first ROCKY movie, where a young white boxer goes up against the black heavyweight champion, and similar kinds of popular movies. Thus, it follows in the footsteps of a venerable Hollywood movie genre that’s sure to attract a wide audience, despite the R-rating.
Director Curtis Hanson does an excellent job with Eminem and the other actors, and with a complex script. Eminem displays the kind of star quality that attracts so many young people, whether it is in his music videos or on stage. By the final scene, 8 MILE successfully captures that charisma while at the same time trying to tell a gritty story about people living in the rundown urban areas that the radical anti-biblical left created in Detroit in the last 35 years.
Even so, however, 8 MILE is filled with well over 200 obscenities and profanities. Much of this foul language is depicted during the insult, rap battles that the rappers hurl at each, both in the weekly rap contest and during impromptu raps on the street. Eminem and the other rappers and characters in 8 MILE may not call their girlfriends or mothers “whores,” but they do use many, many “f” words. Eminem’s friends also talk briefly about being surrounded by loose women, or “bitches,” when they make it big in the music world. The movie also contains a couple strong sex scenes, some violence and marijuana use. Finally, Eminem’s character displays a politically correct attitude about a co-worker who engages in homosexuality.
Apparently, 8 MILE is somewhat autobiographical and is supposed to reflect Eminem’s real-life struggles on the streets in Detroit in 1995. As thousands of scientific studies on the media have shown, however, many children and teenagers are just as likely to imitate the bad behavior in this movie as much as, if not more than, the positive behavior.
Thus, although there are some positive moral and redemptive elements in 8 MILE, MOVIEGUIDE® cannot recommend it. Parents should keep their children and teenagers away from this movie, as well as themselves.
(PaPa, RoRo, B, C, Ab, PC, So, Ho, LLL, VV, SS, NN, AA, DD, MM) Eclectic, hedonistic pagan worldview with Romantic elements in story about poor, struggling rap artist with some moral elements such as young hero with some qualities of compassion toward others learns to control his emotions, protects his younger sister and learns the value of hard work and hero’s best friend talks about going to church and expresses commitment to the Lord but otherwise does not always walk the talk, even when his other friends brag about having money some day and being surrounded by loose women as well as politically correct, socialist attitudes about homosexuality and city government in 1995 Detroit; at least 225 mostly strong obscenities, 12 mostly strong profanities, several obscene gestures, use of the “n” word, and vomiting; young men get into fights, guns are pulled two or three times, young man accidentally shoots one of his arteries which bleeds, hero fights mother’s no-good boyfriend, hero beats up young man for betraying him, gang beats up hero, hero and his gang take law into their own hands when they arson an abandoned house that the corrupt city officials do nothing about; depicted fornication in three scenes, one of which is drawn out with some passionate kissing and petting; brief rear female nudity, partial male nudity, cleavage, and woman in underwear in one fornication scene; alcohol use and drunkenness; smoking and marijuana use; and, working class laziness strongly rebuked, gambling, many insults (many of which are crude), bad mother character, and betrayal.
Set in Detroit in 1995, 8 MILE opens in a rap nightclub with a nervous young man named Jimmy “Rabbit” Smith. The black crowd taunts Jimmy, played by controversial white rapper Eminem, when Jimmy chokes during the weekly rap battle that Jimmy’s black friend, Future, runs. Jimmy, Future and their crew are trying to break into the record industry. Despite his failure, Jimmy’s friends assure him that he’s the best and he’ll do better next time. Jimmy’s not so sure, however. He works at a dead-end factory job and has to go back to living with his unemployed mother, who’s living in a rundown trailer park with her no-good, much younger boyfriend and Jimmy’s little sister. Can Jimmy find the strength and courage to overcome his obstacles?
Director Curtis Hanson does an excellent job with Eminem and the other actors, and with a complex script. Eminem tries to soften his reputation by showing his character’s softer, more compassionate side. Even so, however, the movie is filled with well over 200 obscenities and profanities. There are also brief depictions of fornication and marijuana use. Therefore, MOCVIEGUIDE® cannot recommend this movie, even for teenagers and adults