8 Mile

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
8 Mile Movie Poster Image
Eminem's edgy, graphic quasi-biopic has violence, sex.
  • R
  • 2002
  • 110 minutes
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 30 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 68 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive messages

Perseverance and persistence in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds and incredibly difficult circumstances. 

Positive role models & representations

While certainly not a saint, and certainly not interested in being seen as a positive role model, Rabbit finds a way to rise above the conflicts raging inside himself. He attempts to overcome his desperate economic circumstances and bleak surroundings, revealing tremendous drive, initiative, and dedication. 

Violence

Rabbit is beaten up by several men after punching out one of their friends. One of Rabbit's friends accidentally shoots himself; blood shown. Graphic scenes of domestic violence -- punching, shoving, and screaming between Rabbit and his mother, as well as her boyfriend; a young girl watches and cries in terror. Frustrated that a long-abandoned and crumbling house where a crackhead raped a young girl still has not been demolished, Rabbit and his friends take matters into their own hands by burning it down; Rabbit narrowly avoids getting trapped on the second floor of the house. As Rabbit and his friends drive around Detroit, one of his friends brings a paintball gun, and they take turns shooting it at people and buildings, culminating in Rabbit shooting it at a police car. 

Sex

Graphic sexual references and situations. Rabbit walks in on his mother having sex. Rabbit has sex with a woman in the factory where he works. He later catches this woman having sex with one of his friends in a radio station studio. The rap battles frequently mention sex, sexual prowess or lack thereof, genitalia, and the like. 

Language

Constant and extremely strong profanity. Frequent use of "f--k," "motherf---er," and the "N" word. Homophobic slurs. A mother openly discusses some of the graphic details of her sex life with her son. Use of the middle-finger gesture. 

Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

Drinking and smoking, a drunk character, many drug references. Rabbit's mother is frequently shown to be drunk, getting into fights with her equally drunk boyfriend. Some marijuana smoking. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that 8 Mile is a 2002 movie in which Eminem plays a version of himself, chronicling the tremendous difficulties he had to overcome to find success. There is nonstop profanity (including frequent use of "f--k," "motherf---er," and the "N" word), 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. Homophobic slurs are often used, and even as Eminem's character defends a gay coworker who was insulted by a coworker in the heat of a rap battle, he still uses HIV as a punch line. 

User Reviews

Adult Written byseen-all-movies October 19, 2010

A good movie, suitable for persons from 14 years and up

Even though this movie contains sexualy material (no direct nudity at all,) it contains strong language and a few scenes featuring violence, it is a good hence... Continue reading
Adult Written byMovieLover4Lyfe May 26, 2010
I love this movie! But watch out parents, no little kids allowed! Violence, Sex, Language, Drugs and Alcohol all play a roll. Adults: a must see; Children: no w...
Teen, 13 years old Written byuhya April 11, 2011
one of the best movies ever, but some strong sex, constant profanity, weed smoking and beat up and self shootings make it grown up. very good.
Teen, 15 years old Written bymynameisnick April 9, 2011

More mature teens and up. Eminem fans will love it for sure.

This in my opinon is the best drama movie ever. Note for parents, there is a lot of language, some fist fights and a man accidently shoots himself, also three... Continue reading

What's the story?

Loosely based on the real-life story of white rap superstar Eminem, this movie is very much in the tradition of other "poor kid with a dream" stories such as Saturday Night Fever and Rocky. The structure of these stories is simple: A talented character has to learn to take risks and believe in himself. He has some setbacks but ultimately triumphs.

Is it any good?

Despite 8 MILE's top behind-the-scenes talent such as director Curtis Hanson and producer Brian Grazer, this movie's primary appeal will be to the fans Eminem already has.

For those who accept that rap is an art form, this movie will be easier to believe. This is not the genre-transcending triumph that it was intended to be, but it's far ahead of instantly outdated bombs like Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo. Eminem has the ability to hold the screen, and if he is not exactly an actor, he is able to muster the few expressions required: tender when he looks at his sister (Chloe Greenfield), hopeful when he looks at Alex (Brittany Murphy), and sullen most of the rest of the time.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can 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 are the African-American, poor white, and blue-collar cultures of Detroit conveyed in this movie? Do these depictions seem accurate to you? Why, or why not? 

  • What are some other examples of movies in which characters who are far from perfect still emerge as positive role models, despite their flaws and indiscretions? What positive values does Eminem's character begin to put into practice as a way to rise above difficult surroundings and dire situations? 

  • How is Eminem in the tradition of white musicians who become successful by appropriating the music developed by African-American performers?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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