8 Mile - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

8 Mile Reviews

Top Critic
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
April 7, 2014
It's easy to like Jimmy Smith as well as to admire him, because Mr. Mathers lets us in, with no sign of calculation, on the kindness, even tenderness, that Jimmy conceals from most of the people around him.
Top Critic
David Denby
New Yorker
April 7, 2014
In the tradition of Rocky and Fever, the movie is a shrewdly engineered piece of proletarian pop -- a story of triumph -- but, like Eminem's enraged lyrics, 8 Mile has its own kind of vile candor.
Top Critic
Jami Bernard
New York Daily News
April 7, 2014
In addition to showcasing Mathers, 8 Mile makes a case for rap as a creative rebel yell.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
John Powers
L.A. Weekly
April 7, 2014
What saves all this from being purely conventional is the filmmaker's keen sense of Rabbit's essential solitude as an artist, even when surrounded by friends.
Top Critic
Nathan Rabin
AV Club
April 7, 2014
Since his ascension to pop-culture royalty, Eminem has transformed the messy emotions of his life into musical black comedy. In 8 Mile, that life becomes an equally riveting drama.
Top Critic
Christy Lemire
Associated Press
April 7, 2014
Despite the predictable formula, screenwriter Scott Silver wisely avoids taking the easy route every time; there are several small twists you may not expect, and the ending isn't entirely a happy one.
Top Critic
Richard Schickel
TIME Magazine
April 7, 2014
Because it rejects easy victories, this may be one of the few inspirational movies that could actually inspire someone, somewhere, sometime.
Top Critic
Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
November 15, 2011
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.
Top Critic
David Ansen
Newsweek
November 1, 2007
At its best, 8 Mile illuminates the culture out of which rap springs, at once an art form, provocation and survival mechanism.
Top Critic

Time Out
January 26, 2006
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.
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
May 19, 2004
Like his wizardly lyrics, Eminem's performance and his film have unexpected depth.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
New York Magazine/Vulture
January 16, 2003
Who could have predicted that a rap movie starring Eminem would, at its best, be one of the year's sweetest joyrides?
Top Critic
Stanley Kauffmann
The New Republic
December 2, 2002
The story is all right: The picture's real excellence is its portrait of the society in which it takes place.
Top Critic
Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
November 22, 2002
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.
Top Critic
Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
November 11, 2002
8 Mile probably won't win converts to rap, but it should thrill Eminem fans, so thumbs up.
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
November 10, 2002
In many ways, the movie is just one big cliché, but Hanson's style gives it more weight and heft than it might otherwise have.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
November 9, 2002
There are a lot of stale -- and nefarious -- clichés in 8 Mile (Universal), but most of the time they're overwhelmed by the pulsing, grinding, hopped-up camerawork and the soulful star turn of Eminem.
Top Critic
Desson Thomson
Washington Post
November 8, 2002
[Eminem] does a lot of things right. So does the movie.
Top Critic
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
November 8, 2002
The payoff comes after an hour and a half of a long, criminally tiresome setup.
Top Critic
Mike Clark
USA Today
November 8, 2002
Eminem steals the picture from a cast with snap down to the smallest parts.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
November 8, 2002
Underwhelming.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
November 8, 2002
The triumph here is that Hanson and screenwriter Scott Silver have found a fresh way to tell this story.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Bruce Newman
San Jose Mercury News
November 8, 2002
Unfortunately, 8 Mile does waste a lot of time dawdling over just about everything else ... until it finally begins to sputter at about the 6 mile mark.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
November 8, 2002
Can Eminem act? Who knows? But his star turn in 8 Mile, as an aspiring rapper growing up poor and white in Motown, is memorable -- even if we've seen it all before.
Top Critic
Jonathan Curiel
San Francisco Chronicle
November 8, 2002
[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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Jay Boyar
Orlando Sentinel
November 8, 2002
8 Mile is worth a look if only to watch Eminem on the big screen. Even when a film's a bit lame, it's always fun to be there when a star is being born.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
John Anderson
Newsday
November 8, 2002
8 Mile is among the best studio films of the year 2002.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Jonathan Foreman
New York Post
November 8, 2002
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
November 8, 2002
For all its grit, 8 Mile ends up radiating a joyful, hopeful vibe. It's an old-school charmer.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
November 8, 2002
8 Mile is entertaining to an extent. Our enjoyment is muted because the movie has an agenda.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Top Critic
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
November 8, 2002
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Susan Stark
Detroit News
November 8, 2002
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.
| Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Steven Rosen
Denver Post
November 8, 2002
Making the city look grimy and lonely, dark and wasted but still alive with people who care, the film gets you rooting for the guys who want to make 'Mo' (short for Motown) a major player.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
November 8, 2002
While it's doubtful that Eminem could run out and perform Shakespeare tomorrow, his talents on screen -- in this role -- are astounding.
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
November 8, 2002
We are hardly started in 8 Mile, and already we see that this movie stands aside from routine debut films by pop stars ... Like Prince's Purple Rain, it is the real thing.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
November 8, 2002
8 Mile continues the director's visual tour of America's underbelly that heated up with L.A. Confidential and continued with the Pittsburgh of Wonder Boys.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
November 8, 2002
the Profane One's performance in 8 Mile is more Britney than Brando. As with Ms. Belly Button in the vapid Crossroads, Eminem plays himself, albeit a cleaned-up, deep-thinking, saintlike version.
Top Critic
Elvis Mitchell
New York Times
November 7, 2002
The movie is a success on its own terms because the director doesn't condescend to pop music.
Top Critic
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
November 7, 2002
8 Mile should satisfy Eminem's legion of fans and, at the same time, affirms rap's power as an artform, as real beat poetry, for the uninitiated -- and even for the actively resistant.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
November 7, 2002
A fascinating, surprisingly entertaining stand-off that has adroitly managed to satisfy both of its constituencies, allowing all sides to legitimately claim victory.
Top Critic
Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
November 7, 2002
The climactic 20 minutes or so represent the most electrifying depiction of rap that the multiplex is likely to see, a torrent of word-slinging packed with atmosphere and ribald drama.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
November 7, 2002
Set in Detroit's 8 Mile, the dividing line between the city limits and the northern suburbs, 8 Mile is an exciting, well-crafted movie, loaded with urban atmosphere.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
November 7, 2002
As music star movie debuts go, 8 Mile is hardly A Hard Days Night, but it's not Crossroads, either.
| Original Score: C
Top Critic
Todd McCarthy
Variety
November 6, 2002
Eminem is magnetic playing a version of himself.
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
November 6, 2002
Qualifies as a cinematic event by tapping into the roots of Eminem and the fury and feeling that inform his rap.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Rex Reed
New York Observer
November 6, 2002
O.K., so I'm the wrong audience for this teenage junk.
Top Critic
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
November 6, 2002
Gritty and electrifying.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
November 6, 2002
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
J. Hoberman
Village Voice
November 5, 2002
A canny, and largely successful, attempt to broaden the star's appeal.
Top Critic
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
November 5, 2002
Writer Scott Silver and director Curtis Hanson dig deep into the subculture to deliver a terrific movie.