If you keep up with pop culture, then you’ve probably seen the news: Jennifer Lopez is finally getting some Oscars-buzz after her years and years of blockbuster contributions. The Wedding Planner, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, and The Back-Up Plan are just a few of my favorite J. Lo chick flicks.
So naturally, when I saw the star-studded trailer of Hustlers, I was awed by our fearless 50-year-old superwoman and expected a fun, girly take on a true story. Boy, was I wrong.
To give you all an extremely brief synopsis, Hustlers follows the true story of a group of strippers who turn the tables on unfair, inappropriate, and disrespectful men frequenting their strip club. Instead of being stolen from, they begin an elaborate, clumsy scheme to give the men a little taste of their own medicine. Lili Reinhart, Constance Wu, Lizzo, Keke Palmer, and, of course, J. Lo, star in this box-office heavy-hitter. Here’s why this film is such a must-see.
Hustlers is about women taking control of their lives, putting an end to men taking advantage of them, and even more so about the ending of a Hollywood stigma of strippers. Often in Hollywood, strippers are made out to be ditzy, helpless, and uneducated. Hustlers lets viewers know that this simply isn’t the case, focusing plenty of screen time on the intricate business-side of their scheme against the men. Very importantly, Hustlers shines a light on sex work as a women’s issue. A former stripper who wrote an article with her thoughts in Vulture puts it best: the “screenplay makes clear the forms of exploitation at play in the club: extortionate stage fees and tip outs paid by dancers; the economy of derision and insult that certain customers feel is their masculine right.”The treatment of women in strip clubs is often ignored, and Hustlers gave me my first glimpse into this incredibly unfortunate fact.
Putting this aspect aside for a minute, Hustlers is a story of women who unite their power to, yes, push back against some stereotypical tropes of stripping, but also to commit many illegal acts in an alarming fashion throughout the movie.
So, why should you watch it, and what am I trying to say?
This movie does not wrap up with a pretty red bow in a perfectly wrapped box, though there is a super cute Christmas scene with the whole cast that is pretty perfect. You’ll walk out with all sorts of feelings and thoughts. It’s sure to stir up discussion between you and your friends, and I think that’s really the whole point. Hustlers isn’t a chick flick; instead, it’s a thought-provoking look into an industry that is so often stigmatized and condemned. It’s a challenge to what we believe is right and wrong, and contains impactful statements on family, motherhood, and growing up. There’s truly no movie like it, so grab a couple of your friends, hit your favorite theater, and have some unexpected conversations on the way home.