Review by Mr. Will Wong
Make no mistake, HUSTLERS isn’t just ‘that stripper movie’. Lorene Scafaria (Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Ricki and the Flash) is back with this enthralling look at a group of woman, whom after thriving in the business relying much on Wall Street clientele, see it all fall apart after financial crisis ensues in the late 2000s. Refusing to fall in defeat, the women led by Ramona (Jennifer Lopez), band together in a carefully-executed plan, stealing from unassuming wealthy men silenced by the same of their habits being uncovered.
Hustlers is told from the perspective of Destiny (Constance Wu), as it cuts between past and present where she is being interviewed by Elizabeth (Julia Stiles), a journalist reporting on the scandal. And while there surprisingly isn’t an excess of dancing, Scafaria hones-in on the heart of the story, a story of two women brought together by their determination to care for their families and drive to give themselves a better life, even if it means doing illegal things.
Lopez has never been better, humanizing Ramona in a way that helps us understand her actions. She possesses a cool, motherly toughness that makes no mystery of why her band of sisters are unwavering under her direction. Wu is fantastic as our eyes into this irresistible, dark world which is both scary and fun at once. And that’s what makes Hustlers so magical – we have fun seeing these good girls be real bad. Wu handles also the Film’s more dramatic moments well and for it all we sympathetic in a way that doesn’t feel manipulative. Together, she and Lopez are a perfect pairing.
Other notable turns come from Cardi B who is on-screen all too short as the sassy Diamond, leaving us wanting more of her on the big screen. Stiles is great as a journalist trying to remain impartial but some of the Film’s more humorous moments come when she slips at some of the shocking things she learns.
Elevation Pictures release HUSTLERS Friday, September 13, 2019.