Film Review: Hustlers

Lorene Scafaria absolutely kills it. Hustlers is a well written, tremendously directed film. The co-leads in Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians) and Jennifer Lopez (Jenny from the block…) act their asses off. For a $20 million production this film looks huge and glossy. It’s everything you want your trip to the movies to be. Worth the price of admission and engaging enough to justify the large coke and popcorn.

I felt like for a portion of the film that some characters were forgotten about. They felt key to the character’s motivations but went missing. These threads were picked up again however and it resolved my biggest gripe. The cast is quite large especially during the films first act. More and more cast members are added as the film progresses and the initial ensemble is made redundant by the plot. The girls were so charming at the start that I wish they’d found their way back into the story. This isn’t a criticism so much as a wish for more of a good thing.

My experience seeing this movie was my main takeaway. I’m a self-professed film geek. Often when I head to the pictures I’m flying solo because my One Sixty cohort Shane is busy or finding like minded film fans is hard to come by where live. It’s not uncommon to see a few other guys watching the film by themselves as well. What I saw during Hustlers was sort of unprecedented out in the ‘burbs where I live (at least in my experience). I saw many women, by themselves, in the cinema seeking this film. Young and old alike.

It’s no great mystery that movies are made, at least marketed, with men/boys in mind. Great inroads have been made in changing the opinion that they are solely for men and Hustlers seems like a huge leap forward in defeating this stigma. Whilst I was watching the movie the sense that this movie wasn’t trying to appeal to my more basic man-brain became increasingly apparent. The movie wasn’t exploitive of its female cast. It told the story as it was, it didn’t fantasise.

I felt refreshed seeing a movie that I wasn’t the target audience for. Seeing a movie that could easily have fallen into the trappings of becoming a male fantasy movie. Instead it was a female story. Told as it was. I am absolutely here for more mature movies that aren’t just about the white male experience. As his history shows in order for anything to survive becoming stagnated it need diversity. We need more stories from more people. We need more stories from Lorene Scafaria.

A film about greed, told with grace:

★★★★

Written by Benjamin Boekelaar