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Film Analysis: 8 Mile
The 2009 film, 8 Mile, parallels the true life story of multi-platinum artist, Eminem. Directed by Curtis Hanson, the film takes place in 1995, a time where hip-hop music was growing and Detroit, Michigan had hit an all time low. Eminem (formally referred to as Marshall Mathers) plays Jimmy, a wannabe rapper from the poor side of Detroit and stars like Brittany Murphy, Kim Basinger, and Mekhi Phifer all play key roles in the film. The film follows the lyrically talented Jimmy, also known as Rabbit by his friends, and his struggle to become a white rapper in a predominately black field. He also struggles with dealing with his alcoholic mother, poor social status, and his rival gang who call themselves “The Free World” (8 Mile, Wikipedia.com). The film effectively portrays the rap competition in Detroit and Jimmy’s fight to be on top. 8 Mile’s urban tale raises questions about stereotypes, class separation, and segregation, while gaining the viewers respect for hip-hop music and successfully developing characters and using real life matters to reproduce a true story. The film begins with Jimmy Smith (Eminem), a young and unhappy blue-collar worker from a poor family, struggling with different aspects of his life. He has moved back north of 8 Mile Road to the rundown trailer home in Detroit, Michigan of his alcoholic mother, Stephanie (Kim Basinger), his little sister Lily (Chloe Greenfield), and Stephanie's abusive live-in boyfriend Greg (Michael Shannon). Jimmy is focused on getting his music career started, but he seems unable to catch a break. Jimmy comes to realize that his life has remained largely the same since he graduated high school. (“8 Mile”, rottentomatoes.com) At first, he considers himself a victim of his circumstances and blames others for his problems. Over time, though, Jimmy begins to take more responsibility for the direction of his life.
His newly established relationship with Alex (played by Brittany Murphy) ends when Jimmy walks in on his friend Wink (Eugene Byrd) having sex with her. Jimmy beats up Wink, which later causes Wink to join forces with Jimmy's enemies, a gang of rappers known as the Leaders of the Free World. Later, Wink and the Free World gang jump him outside of his mother's trailer, but when one member pulls a gun on Jimmy, Wink stops him and they leave. Jimmy's friends have hailed him throughout the film as an incredible rapper, and his friend Future (Mekhi Phifer) puts pressure on Jimmy to get his revenge by competing against the Leaders of the Free World at the next rap battle. (“8 Mile”, wikipedia.com) The battle acts as a "final conflict" with the Leaders of the Free World gang who have harassed Jimmy throughout the film. It has three rounds, and in each of them Jimmy confronts a member of the gang. Jimmy wins both of the first two rounds and in the last round, he is paired against Papa Doc (Anthony Mackie), the tournament's most feared battler and Jimmy's main antagonist throughout the film. Jimmy is aware that Doc knows all his weak points, so he decides to address them with his freestyle. Jimmy acknowledges without shame his lower-class white trash roots and the humiliations the Free World gang have inflicted on him, and then uses the difficult life he has had as basis to reveal the truth about Papa Doc. With little to say in rebuttal, Papa Doc gives the microphone back to Future and Jimmy wins the battle. As Jimmy leaves the venue, Future suggests that he stay and celebrate his victory while also offering a position that would allow him to host battles at The Shelter. Jimmy turns him down, claiming he has to get back to work and to find success his own way. He then starts walking back to work, feeling more confident about his future. (“8 Mile”, wikipedia.com) The movie is titled after a main street in...
Cited: "8 Mile." IMDb. IMDb.com, n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2014.
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"Eminem." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 29 Jan. 2014. Web. 30 Jan. 2014. .
"Full Cast & Crew." IMDb. IMDb.com, n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2014. .
“8 Mile Quotes.” Quotefully - Browse Your Favorite TV Show and Movie Quotes." Quotefully - Browse Your Favorite TV Show and Movie Quotes. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2014.
"The 10 Most Memorable Rap Lines From '8 Mile '." Vibe. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2014. .
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