The setting is Detroit in 1995. The city is divided by 8 Mile, a road that splits the town in half along racial lines. A young white rapper, Jimmy "B-Rabbit" Smith Jr summons strength within himself to cross over these arbitrary boundaries to fulfill his dream of success in hip Show more... hop. With future and the three one third all he has to do is not choke.
Joe Morgenstern 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.
David Denby 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.
John Powers 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.
Christy Lemire 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.
Richard Schickel Because it rejects easy victories, this may be one of the few inspirational movies that could actually inspire someone, somewhere, sometime.
Jonathan Rosenbaum 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.
David Ansen At its best, 8 Mile illuminates the culture out of which rap springs, at once an art form, provocation and survival mechanism.
Peter Rainer Who could have predicted that a rap movie starring Eminem would, at its best, be one of the year's sweetest joyrides?
Stanley Kauffmann The story is all right: The picture's real excellence is its portrait of the society in which it takes place.
Andrew Sarris 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.
Richard Roeper 8 Mile probably won't win converts to rap, but it should thrill Eminem fans, so thumbs up.
David Edelstein There are a lot of stale -- and nefarious -- cliches 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.
Desson Thomson [Eminem] does a lot of things right. So does the movie.
Ann Hornaday The payoff comes after an hour and a half of a long, criminally tiresome setup.
Stephanie Zacharek 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.
Paul Clinton (CNN.com) While it's doubtful that Eminem could run out and perform Shakespeare tomorrow, his talents on screen -- in this role -- are astounding.
Bill Muller 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.
Elvis Mitchell The movie is a success on its own terms because the director doesn't condescend to pop music.
Kenneth Turan A fascinating, surprisingly entertaining stand-off that has adroitly managed to satisfy both of its constituencies, allowing all sides to legitimately claim victory.
Todd McCarthy Eminem is magnetic playing a version of himself.
Rex Reed O.K., so I'm the wrong audience for this teenage junk.
J. Hoberman A canny, and largely successful, attempt to broaden the star's appeal.
Kirk Honeycutt Writer Scott Silver and director Curtis Hanson dig deep into the subculture to deliver a terrific movie.