A hesitant presence whose vulnerability pulls you in, Eminem emerges as a mainstream movie star and effectively lays to rest the spooks of Slim Shady: impressionable parents will love this eminently responsible film.
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.
[8 Mile is] more funny than foul, more inspiring than infuriating, more touching than not. In many ways, 8 Mile is a Rocky-like tale of determination and long odds that will appeal even to those who are turned off by most rap.
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.
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.
Like the recently released 'Welcome to Collinwood' from Cleveland's Russo brothers, Curtis Hanson's '8 Mile' brings affection and honesty in equal measure to its tale of impoverished middle-Americans determined to get a better life -- on their own terms.
A movie that will satisfy hip-hop and Eminem fans in ways they never expected; even more significantly, it will touch people who thought they hated hip-hop and/or Eminem in ways they would have never expected.