Movie review: 'Hustlers'

Category:  The Arts
Friday, September 20th, 2019 at 11:00 AM
Movie review: 'Hustlers' by Samantha Mannion
Photo: Tribune News Service

“Hustlers,” starring Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Lili Reinhart and Keke Palmer, is based on a true story about strippers who used shady practices to reclaim their power after the 2008 stock market crash changes the club they work at for the worst.

Overall, the film was enjoyable. The first thing that stood out was the soundtrack. It was the right genre for the feel of each scene, setting a nice tone. From heartwarming Christmas moments underscored by Frankie Valli, to club scenes accompanied by bouncy baselines, it all worked well for the section it went with.

In addition, the actresses made you interested in seeing what the characters were going to do next. They also worked fantastically as a unit and seemed to enjoy themselves. It wasn’t an awkward grouping of performers, which, in a stripper movie, could be an issue. By extension, each actress also looked incredible, costumed in a way that suits the characters and their bodies.

It was also well-written (Jessica Pressler, who wrote the original magazine article, and writer/director Lorene Scafaria get credits). The script knows when the audience needs comic relief, finding a lot of these moments with strippers being outside the club, which humanized them. The women also do some shady things in this movie that cannot be fully divulged without spoilers, but it could be easy to not understand why they do it. In the moment, when they explain it, it all makes sense how one thing leads to another. Also, when things do eventually get out of hand, it is expressly clear that things have gotten out of hand. It could be very easy for the entire movie to seem like the situation is out of hand, but it doesn’t.

The movie, however, isn’t perfect. There were some sad scenes which didn’t hit quite right for me. I didn’t feel as bad as I think I was meant to.
It’s also something that’s not easily boiled down into a trailer or one-sentence premise. It can read as though it’s about strippers who start to do even more questionable things for money, when in reality it’s about smart women taking matters into their own hands. Of course, it’s not in the most responsible way possible. When trying to explain the plot to someone after viewing, they may not understand why you enjoyed it.

All in all, I do recommend this movie. At its core, it is a cool, compelling story about a diverse, unorthodox and intelligent group of women working together for a common goal. It’s the details that get dicey.

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