JLo tears the house down in 'Hustlers'

Hustlers tells the story of a crew of savvy strip club employees and it doesn't fall into the trap that catches so many films of this nature.

Hustlers
Image: STX Films

The minute I saw the trailer for Hustlers, I was sold. Lizzo: check, JLo: check, Cardi B: check, Constance Wu: check. Add that it is directed and written by Lorene Scafaria and I couldn’t wait to see it.

“2007 was the best year ever”. It was a time when Wall Street was booming and so were the strip clubs.

Hustlers tells the story of a crew of savvy strip club employees who band together to turn the tables on their Wall Street clients. It is inspired on the acclaimed long-form piece written by Jessica Pressler which featured in the New York Magazine in 2015.

Struggling to make ends meet, inexperienced New York stripper Destiny (Constance Wu) strikes up a friendship and profitable partnership with star dancer Ramona (Jennifer Lopez). When the recession hits, however, the pair concoct a decidedly more dangerous way to earn their money back at the expense of their clients.

The film could have been just a cute, super fun movie, which it is, but it is elevated by several standout performances, most notably from Jennifer Lopez.

Lopez gives the performance of her acting career as Ramona, who has one of the most dramatic, impressive entrances seen in recent years.

She booms onto the screen, pole dancing to Fiona Apple’s Criminal as money if thrown at her from all directions.

Crazy Rich Asians star Constance Wu performance is second to none, but as protagonist Destiny she is the foundation which Ramona is built, we see Ramona from her point of view for a good portion of the film.

Hustlers
Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu in Hustlers (2019)

With Lorene Scafaria at the helm, this film is also elevated by the removal of the male gaze in telling this story: characters are multi-dimensional, femininity is where the power and control resides.

It doesn’t dumb things down and makes for a beautiful cinematic experience with striking visual appeal.

Constance Wu sums this up, saying to her this film is about friendship but also goes deeper than films centred on this topic have done in the past;

“I think the movie is actually about friendship and it’s also about systems of power and control, and usually when we’ve seen strip club movies or even just like fun sexy movies in Hollywood, it’s all about the flash and the romanticisation, glamourisation of the life.

“Yeah we got some flash for sure but I think Lorene was really careful to not judge or blame any of the characters but also to not make any clear cut heroes or villains because everybody is somewhat a victim at large of a culture that tells women they’re valued for their looks and men that they’re valued for their bank accounts.”

On top of that, the film has a fantastic soundtrack that takes you from 2007 onwards, there is a talented standout cast of amazing females, and it will make you laugh out loud.

See it, get empowered, get money.

Hustlers hits cinemas nationwide on Friday, September 13 2019 

© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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