Hustlers, the blockbuster released on September 13 this year starring J. Lo and many more, was a $100 million box office hit, and it brought together a cult of incredible female actresses for the big screen.
However, did this movie really meet high expectations of telling a hard story? Keep reading to find out.
What is this movie about?
It told a fictional adaptation of the 2015 New York Magazine feature titled “The Hustlers At Scores.” Written by Jessica Pressler, her story took us through the lives of a stripper and her friends who made a mix of MDMA and ketamine to drug men and hustle Wall Street businessmen during the early 2000s. As Jennifer Lopez told it to EW, this movie is a story about “power, greed, and the American dream, [and] what a certain group of women, who worked in a field where they were degraded and discounted, will do to achieve it.”
She’s isn’t wrong. The adaptation follows the lives of Destiny and Ramona who are working hard as strippers in 2007, but are struggling to make ends meet for their families outside of the club.
What do you think?
I have always been a fan of Jennifer Lopez and movies that tell true stories about real people that the world doesn’t notice. So, seeing this trailer was absolutely incredible.
Stripping is a profession that is typically viewed as not acceptable by society, yet there are real people making a living through it. With actresses such as Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu telling the story, I thought it would incredible.
And I WAS RIGHT, for the most part…
Like I said, I’m a sucker for a good story, especially one originally told by a journalist, but I gotta be honest, I didn’t think the movie did the story justice.
I think the movie did a fantastic part depicting the ugly and the bad parts of the profession. It showed these hard-working women going through some of the hardest times in their lives.
From seeing Constance Wu being the “new girl” at the club to half her pay being taken by men who were in power, the struggle was hard but clear for the audience. While I didn’t relate, I could visually see the pain Destiny and Ramona experienced in this story. Those scenes were done incredibly well and gave the audience a sense of the suffering these women went through.
However, not all the moments were bad. Hustlers showed viewers the happy moments as well. The moments of excitement, love, and sisterhood that these women felt for each other through these harsh experiences. They were each other’s homes and you could see that in their faces.
But, while watching the movie, I felt like the movie was beginning to get unbalanced in what it was trying to say. It was prolonging the hard moments, and quickening the happy ones. It was rushing through the end plot that I could barely keep up. After the Hustlers began committing the crimes, all the focus was on the repetitiveness on the crime that we rarely saw moments of the sisterhood, and the reason they went into this business.
Huh? Can you explain that again? It’s like this: the build-up to the crime took an hour and a half, but once people started connecting the dots on the crime, it was the last thirty minutes of the movie. Viewers were left picking up the tiny clues and trying to figure out what was going on after the Hustlers were arrested.
I get it, movies have limits, but that doesn’t mean you take away from the story. It’s hard to fit such an impactful story in a short amount of time, but this project was telling the story of real people who had incredible difficult and trifling lives. Now, NO DISRESPECT to the cast at all, because truly this is an incredible female-lead movie. It had diverse representation, and women were in each scene.
But, stories like these need to be told holistically. You can’t just showcase the bad, the ugly, the fun, and rush through the actual case. How did Destiny decide to come forward to the reporter? Where is Ramona now? Things were chaotic, but what happened to Annabelle and Mercedes go? What is happening to all four girls now? What happened to their families?
A little slide at the end of the movie doesn’t showcase the hardship of those scenarios. These are women who gave everything they had into this one business. Sure, it was a crime, but it was what they had and what they did to make do. We just saw them all get arrested and I felt like everything after was a HUGE blur. I literally got lost and had to read more about the case to figure out what the movie was trying to show. All of a sudden, the movie focused on the strong friendship between the two leads, Ramona and Destiny, rather than the actual storyline.
The gravity of this storyline was so powerful that seeing it “pushed over,” for lack of a better term, to focus on their friendship took away from the story. The ending of this story shouldn’t be rushed by any means. While I understand the importance of the two leads’ bond, it was already expressed numerous times throughout the movie.
The emphasis should have been on showing the progression of the crime. From the bad to the ugly to the fun and to the harsh reality. It’s a great story with an impactful meaning. The 2008 crisis harmed businesses like these more than any other and these women had nothing to fall back on other than crimes and drugs. That’s what this story tried to show, and it did a great part in demonstrating the magnitude of pain these women went through, but I was left questioning why we barely saw the end result of this crime.
That being said, Hustlers did a great job starting the conversation. It was an honest movie that told a story most people are afraid to say. I would definitely recommend it to anyone, but I would say do a little research so you truly understand what the actual story is.