A struggling rapper tries to make it big while juggling family and
money problems as well as friends and enemies who stand in his way.
8 Mile (2002)
Directed by Curtis Hanson
Written by Scott Silver
Starring Eminem, Kim Basinger, Mekhi Phifer, Brittany Murphy,
Evan Jones, Omar Benson Miller, De'Angelo Wilson,
Eugene Byrd, Anthony Mackie, Michael Shannon
Oscar Wins - Best Original Song (Lose Yourself)
8 Mile has remarkably stood the test of time and remains one of the most honest and engaging depictions of class struggle in modern America. Eminem delivers a strong performance in this semi-autobiographical music drama about a young rapper doing his best to make ends meet while also trying to score his ticket to the big time. The film never once feels disingenuous or phony, and goes a long way towards showing how hard it is to become a paid artist, no matter what your talent may be. Ultimately, what it takes the most is hard work and dedication, and even then you may never get your shot.
Eminem plays B-Rabbit, a poor rapper from Detroit who chokes in his first big rap battle. The film follows B-Rabbit as he gains the street smarts and the confidence he needs to redeem himself and defeat the reigning champion Papa Doc (Anthony Mackie) to prove that he has what it takes to be a part of this world. The film draws you in almost immediately, with a relatable protagonist and a badass soundtrack. The supporting cast is great too, with Kim Basinger playing Rabbit's mom and Mekhi Phifer playing his friend and rap battle host Future. While I wish more time had been dedicated to building up the relationship between Rabbit and his love interest Alex (played by the late Brittany Murphy), the film doesn't suffer because of it.
8 Mile is a solid film about the real day-to-day struggles of life in inner city Detroit, and how art sometimes comes from dark places. Eminem is basically playing himself a lot of the time, as this was his life before he was discovered. This emotional connection to the material gives him a chance to really shine in his performance, and it shows throughout the film. It took me way too long to finally sit down and watch it, but I'm glad I did.