Metascore
77

Generally favorable reviews - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 38
  2. Negative: 0 out of 38
  1. Transcends its star's controversial career and, in the bargain, stands head, shoulders and heart above every other Hollywood movie that we've seen so far this year.
  2. Movie stars radiate a power -- physical, erotic, spiritual -- that draws an audience into their orbit. Yet watching Curtis Hanson's gritty and electrifying 8 Mile, the first thing you notice about Eminem, the most scaldingly powerful artist in pop music today, is how vulnerable he looks.
  3. What it's really about is the euphoria that talent can bring to those who are possessed by it. That euphoria lights up the screen.
  4. 90
    Eminem plays Rabbit with riveting, flamboyantly expressive intensity.
  5. 90
    The film's absolute conviction keeps it from feeling formulaic.
  6. The film is never more real than when Jimmy unloads his anger on someone close to him, a frequent occurrence. Eminem is an actor with a rare gift for rage, and movie careers, even big ones, have been built on less.
  7. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    90
    There's something old-fashioned and dauntless about the way the film pushes past our initial resistance to its setting and subject matter, past pain, past defeat, to make this point. Because it rejects easy victories, this may be one of the few inspirational movies that could actually inspire someone, somewhere, sometime.
  8. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    90
    The rough power, as well as the humor and sensitivity, of pop phenom Eminem is delivered intact in 8 Mile.
  9. This is about the rise of a pop star, plain and simple. The real deal –- and the movie's greatest fun –- is in the rap contests.
  10. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    88
    The rap sequences are shot and edited with the excitement of a crisply broadcast sporting event, which in a way they are.
  11. Some movies, a very few, possess the purity of myth, and they don't have to be great to be greatly important. "The Wild One" is an example; "Saturday Night Fever" is another. Now add 8 Mile to that short list.
  12. It captures the excitement of a breaking star, it generates a raw and unsettling emotional power and it honors the aesthetic of hip-hop in way that's never quite been done on film before.
  13. 80
    Can Eminem act? Who knows? But his star turn in 8 Mile -- is memorable -- even if we've seen it all before.
  14. The star's the thing, the only thing, and he's brilliant at playing a thinly veiled version of himself.
  15. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    80
    It’s too early to place Eminem alongside those Hollywood giants (Jimmy Cagney/John Garfield), but the promise is there. He understands the power of being still in front of a camera. Compact, volatile and burningly intense, he’s got charisma to spare.
  16. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    80
    There are a lot of stale -- and nefarious -- clichés in 8 Mile, but most of the time they're overwhelmed by the pulsing, grinding, hopped-up camerawork and the soulful star turn of Eminem.
  17. 80
    Eminem does not come off as a megalomaniac in 8 Mile, but he expects people to be very, very impressed. I doubt he could lend himself to a fiction that said anything else: his eyes couldn't tell any story but his own. [11 November 2002, p. 195]
  18. Hanson's rendition is so engulfing that, for this middle-class white man at any rate, the moment after the film finished was like a return to familiar country.
  19. The movie has some of the braggadocio of its white-trash hero, building to its competitive climax as if it were a gladiatorial sporting event, and it carried me all the way.
  20. 75
    Eminem survives the X-ray truth-telling of the movie camera, which is so good at spotting phonies. He is on the level.
  21. Flaws and all, it really does show a star being born.
  22. 75
    There is some exhilarating wordplay in 8 Mile, and you don't have to be a fan of rap to appreciate its quicksilver energy and mischievous wit. For all its grit, 8 Mile ends up radiating a joyful, hopeful vibe. It's an old-school charmer.
  23. Basinger gives one of her best performances as a woman too young, poor and overwhelmed to handle motherhood. And the uncommonly self-assured Murphy proves again that she is a cut above other actresses of her tender years.
  24. What makes 8 Mile transcend the formulaic nature of its plot is the way it makes these rap competitions compelling even for those unfamiliar with rap music, and its scrupulous, loving rendition of a grim, wintry Detroit circa 1995.
  25. The real drama -- and poetry -- in 8 Mile are in those fiery face-offs, the hip-hop battles, as Jimmy rat-tat-tats his rap in deft flashes of spontaneous combustion.
  26. A "Rocky"-like tale of determination and long odds that will appeal even to those who are turned off by most rap music.
  27. 75
    A hip-hop cousin of Prince's ''Purple Rain,'' which had braver fashion sense and better original songs.
  28. 75
    As is usually the case with a well made sports movie, you don't have to appreciate the particular sport in order to enjoy the movie. 8 Mile has not been made solely with fans of hip-hop music in mind.
  29. 70
    Extremely clever in its use of self-deprecation, it's guaranteed to bring down the house at any remotely sympathetic venue.
  30. 70
    What Mr. Hanson has done with 8 Mile is make a pop movie instead of a movie about pop. There's nothing disreputable about this.
  31. 70
    There's no doubt that Eminem has the talent and presence of a star. It's just a shame that the filmmakers didn't capture his power with mad skillz of their own.
  32. 67
    While the urban texture and the unapologetic work of Basinger impart a sophisticated air to what is essentially a downtrodden-teen-makes-good film, that is, finally, just what 8 Mile is. That's not a bad thing, but it's nothing to rap home about, either.
  33. 63
    A star is born in 8 Mile, all right, but his name is Mekhi Phifer.
  34. The loosely autobiographical 8 Mile, an uneven but watchable drama about life in Detroit's slums, begins the shrewd transformation of vitriolic rapper Eminem into a mainstream figure.
  35. Pop-music biopics have a great history, but 8 Mile is for Eminem fans only. They're sure to make it a huge, huge hit.
  36. 50
    What's most disappointing is the thoroughly cliched story.
  37. 50
    But even a rapper needs to punch things up a bit, and 8 Mile, for all its hip-hop braggadocio, is a pretty weak riff.
  38. 40
    The film has brief flashes of believability and humor. By and large, though, the script is uninspired, the picture's characters are stick figures, its dialogue is lackluster and the star's performance seldom rises above the adequate.
User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 319 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 8 out of 126
  1. Mar 15, 2011
    10
    Let's get one thing out of the way first: Yes, I am an Eminem fan. However, rap is not the only genre I like, and some rap artists make me sick like some people. I listen to just about any genre as long as the music is good, and I am a fan of other bests of different genres, even for orchestrated. 8 Mile was hyped up for a while and I never got to see it, and I thought it would just be a typical tale of Eminem trying to become a rapper. But it isn't, and it is a much bigger movie and in my opinion, one of the best of 2002. Thanks to an excellent script, the grittiness, the message, and the fantastic performances, even from Eminem, 8 Mile is an excellent movie that borrows script ideas from great movies, perfects them and is special in its own way. SEE IT! Full Review »
  2. Dec 10, 2012
    8
    Eminem it's not an actor and that's for sure, the movie lacks a lot of things but what I loved about the movie it's that the movie has a message and it transmits this message in a very powerful way, and through the life of a music star and of a regular working-class guy. Raw and memorable moments you will find in this movie. You don't need to be an Eminem fan to appreciate it. Full Review »
  3. Dec 4, 2011
    7
    "8 Mile", a rap semi-biography film, surprisingly springs up to a masterful level where only a few newbie-movies achieve. Is it because of the grim environment and, although formulaic, a appealing story? Yes, but it's mostly because of Eminem's powerful, absorbing performance. I DEMAND A SEQUEL!!! Full Review »