REVIEW: “Unbelievable truth is films defining strength” – ‘Hustlers’ (2019)

Rating: 4 out of 4.

“One cannot help but feel a sense of impending doom whilst watching this film.”

Inspired by Jessica Pressler’s “The Hustlers at Scores” New York Times article, Hustlers follows Destiny (Constance Wu), Ramona (Jennifer Lopez) and a band of female strippers who, after all suffering from the financial crisis of 2007-2008, decided to get revenge by stealing money from their wealthy Wall Street clients. 

It is hard not to feel a sense of impending doom whilst watching this film. The story is thrilling because whilst you feel sorry for these women and what they’ve gone through due to the financial crisis, their actions are so morally wrong. It’s unsettling due to the fact that you know this is all true, despite how unbelievable it is. The acting, however, is phenomenal especially from leads Lopez and Wu – this definitely contributes to the unnerving feeling because they make it so believable. 

It’s not an easy watch though and as an audience member you know that it is not going to end well, even if one didn’t really read the article it’s based on. Yet, even still, a part of you wishes for a different, happier, outcome despite the morally ambiguous nature of the film. 

In some ways, you could say that the writing is really strong because it takes the audience on a rollercoaster of uneasy emotions. However, the plot dips in places, specifically about halfway through the film and the pace slows too much. Thankfully, the story picks up quickly and the feeling of incoming boredom soon leaves. 

The star-studded cameos definitely help the film. Singer-songwriter Lizzo (playing Liz) and rapper Cardi B (who plays Diamond) are both great actors and delivered some great comedic lines. The best celebrity cameo had to be Usher, though, because it was just so unexpected and hilarious. His cameo quite literally comes out of nowhere, he’s dressed in very cringe early-2000s clothes and then proceeds to flirt with Jennifer Lopez’s character. 

From right to left: Keke Palmer, Cardi B, Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu and Lili Reinhart

A defining strength of this film is definitely the fact it’s based on an unbelievable yet true story. 

It’s almost difficult to review because despite the amazing story and the brilliant acting, as an audience member you leave the cinema feeling very unsettled, shocked and oddly sad for the characters because you’re reminded that this is a real story. Creating a lasting impact on the audience as they leave the theatre. 

Overall, Hustlers is definitely a film everyone should see. Just be prepared to feel uneasy for the next few hours afterwards. 

Directed and Written by: Lorene Scafaria

Produced by: Jessica Elbaum, Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas and Jennifer Lopez. 

Starring: Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Stiles, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, Lizzo and Cardi B. 

Based on “The Hustlers at Scores by Jessica Pressler.