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Review: Hustlers

Written and Directed By Lorene Scafaria ("Seeking a Friend for the End of the World")

Based on Article By Jessica Pressler

Starring: Jennifer Lopez ("Shades of Blue"); Constance Wu ("Fresh off the Boat") and Julia Stiles ("Jason Bourne")

Run time: 1 hour 45 minutes

"Hustlers" is based on a true story or at least on an article based on a true story. The film is well-shoot, rather well-acted with Jennifer Lopez giving a performance that made me forget she is Jennifer Lopez (and the lip stub also helped). Constance Wu was memorable especially with the session with the journalist (Julia Stiles) really standing out more than anything else. Her facial, emotional, range was on point.

The structure of the film was something that I did not expect since it is told from the point of view of Destiny/ Dorothy (Constance Wu) some years after the events. It is the story of how a group of strippers (Cardi B not included- she seemed to be just used as marketing considering she was like in only the opening scene) stole from rich people (who, as according to Ramona (Jennifer Lopez) steal from other people so that is her justification) after the Wall Street crash. The majority of the film is a flashback with bits and pops to their present time. I thought this was interesting and we also get to see Ramona taking to the journalist (as well as a connection between Ramona's genuine, sisterly, love for Destiny).

This film surprised me in that the tone was serious but not too much that it made the characters hard to handle. You could see why they did what they did and very few men that they targetted were shown in a good light (I think there were two that came across as decent). The ensemble worked well together with a few small moments that are fun to see and there were lines that made me chuckle due to their kinda dark-like humour, bit sassy I guess. Plus, there was not that much stripping and what was in the club was quite, for lack of a better word, respectful, compared to other films.

The relationship (good and bad) between Ramona and Destiny is well-developed and realistic. We get to see how Destiny has changed when away from Ramona (having a kid will do that) but how they click back together as if they have not changed even though they did as did the environment around them. Ramona is a smoking, softie while Destiny has more bite when her way of living was slightly, maybe, accidentally, looked down upon.

A standout shot that I really want to mention was when the girls were taking a guy into their car and the camera tracked across to show a different guy and the same girls coming out the other side of the car by the club. This was an awesome showing of time and I really want to use something like it one day (knock on wood).

The movie is good and had moments that stood out. Everyone did a good job and that shoot is one I wish not to forget even though I saw this movie a while ago. I can see why it has high ratings and I did enjoy it and there is a lot more moments that pop into my head while typing this out. So check it out.

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