8 Mile

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Movie poster of 8 Mile

8 Mile is a movie starring Marshall Mathers (a.k.a. Eminem) as the young white rapper Jimmy Smith Jr. Eight Mile Road is a road which forms the boundary between predominantly-African American Detroit, Michigan, USA and the city's mostly white northern suburbs. The term "8 Mile" therefore represents a barrier that is difficult to cross.

Besides Eminem, the movie stars Kim Basinger, Brittany Murphy, Mekhi Phifer, Omar Benson Miller, Eugene Byrd, Michael Shannon, Evan Jones, Chloe Greenfield, Taryn Manning and De'Angelo Wilson.


Plot outline

The story of the film is about a young man living in Detroit who is supposed to be a prodigy of freestyle rap. The movie starts out with Eminem's character ("Rabbit"), at a locally (and less professionally) organized music event similar to the Rap Olympics. He chokes his performance (doesn't say a word) and loses the competition. This loss contributes to a general sense of shame in the movie and creates great suspense that makes the ending of the movie very powerful where Rabbit really excels and wins the competition.

Rabbit's best friend "Future" is the MC of this event and is played by Mekhi Phifer.

After the initial scene at the music event, the movie focuses on the life of Rabbit, a poor factory worker who is struggling with many different aspects of his life: getting a possible music career started, girlfriends, the constant danger that exists as a fact of the people he hangs around with.

The final, climactic scene of the movie takes place a few weeks later at a freestyle competition similar to the one in the movie's opening scenes. At this point, Rabbit has been hyped up by his friends as a really good rapper, but until this point we are only shown snippets of his skills.

Rabbit wins the competition, and viewers see three progressively more impressive freestyle raps by Rabbit. After his last round he leaves his opponent speechless and clinches the title.

Tagline: Every Moment is a Chance to Turn it Around.

Debate about biographical nature

There has been considerable debate, in the mainstream press, amongst reviewers, and other viewers, on the extent to which 8 Mile is semi-autobiographical, biographical, or fictional. This has been fueled by the fact that events and characters depicted in the movie appear to parallel events, and people, in Mathers life (as presented in the media and in various songs).

Some have suggested the character Jimmy Smith mirrors Mathers as a young adult, with an alter ego of "Bunny Rabbit" / "B-Rabbit" / "Rabbit" mirroring Mathers own "Eminem" alter ego.

Other suggested parallels include:

  • Rabbit's 3-1-3 posse to Eminem's D-12 rap group.
  • Rabbit's friend, mentor, and promoter Future to Dr. Dre, Eminem's real life friend, producer, and mentor.
  • Rabbit's friend and contest emcee Future to D-12 member Proof, who was Eminem's childhood friend and a frequent emcee in Detroit (Proof actually appears in the movie as the first person B-Rabbit is supposed to battle at the beginning)
  • Rabbit's baby sister Lilly to Eminem's young daughter Hailie, noting they even sound similar. Eminem's "Lose yourself" video explicitly connects 8 Mile's Lilly to Eminem's daughter.
  • The 3-1-3's nemesis, "The Free World", to rap groups like the Insane Clown Posse, or other similar groups, with which Eminem has 'feuded' with in the past
  • Greg Beuhl to D'Angelo Bailey, who Eminem stated was a grade school bully in his song "Brain Damage"
  • Rabbit's mother to Eminem's real-life mother, Debbie.
  • Rabbit's ex-girlfriend in 8 Mile to his real-life ex-wife, Kim.
  • Rabbit's rap battles in "The Shelter" to Eminem's participation in "The Rap Olympics".

The suggestion amongst those holding such a view is that identities and events were changed in the film, and thus should be considered "biographical", or "semi-autobiographical" (given Mathers role in the creative process). Some people holding such views have suggested changes of names and events were done to make civil lawsuits against Eminem more difficult. Others have suggested that names were changed along with a fictionalized, sanitized account of real events, designed to legitimize Eminem as an artist, and present him in a positive light.

In contrast, Eminem, on numerous occasions, has stated that 8 Mile is a fictional story. However, he has admitted that he did indeed have a role in the creative process, and that places and events were indeed based on real events in his life. However, how far this role extended is still being debated.


The movie spawned two soundtracks, one of which featured several new songs by Eminem, along with collaborators 50 Cent and Obie Trice. The second soundtrack featured songs referred to in the movie.

See also

External links

de:8 Mile uk:Восьма Миля


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