Bodied premiered at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival (and later played Fantastic Fest), and when it did finally get picked up for distribution, it was by YouTube Premium. That’s a lot of potential red flags, but trust us: the Joseph Kahn-directed, Eminem-produced film, about a (white) graduate student who finds himself immersed in the world of battle rap, is fantastic.
“If it sounds like Bodied is about to turn into a centrist-baiting Jonathan Chait essay about snowflakes and safe spaces, that was my worry. But Kahn, and Bodied, are too smart for that,” FilmDrunk‘s Vince Mancini wrote in his glowing review (he also listed it as second best movie of 2017). “When’s the last time you had a conversation about race, privilege, and political correctness that was actually fun?” I was at the same screening and agree with every word. Also, the grad student? He(yy)‘s played by Alex Trimboli from American Vandal.
Here’s the official plot synopsis.
Bodied is a go-for-the-jugular, hilarious look inside the competitive world of rap battles. Berkeley grad student Adam Merkin (Calum Worthy) gets sucked into the game after meeting icon Behn Grym (Jackie Strong) and accidentally competing in — and winning — his first battle. Rising through the ranks of the battle scene with his provocative insults, Adam alienates his academic buddies, uptight girlfriend, and literary professor father (Anthony Michael Hall).
Bodied is available in select theaters staring November 2, and YouTube Premium on November 28 (but see it in a theater, if you can).