Hustlers ( Lorene Scafaria, 2019): USA

Reviewed by Kaio Farkouh.

Who would have thought that we would be talking about Jennifer Lopez (The Boy Next Door) and this great “Martin Scorsese” strip mob film? Directed and written by Lorene Scafaria (Seeking a Friend for the End of the World), she does a good job in a compelling based on a true story involving the 2008 economic crisis.

Destiny (Constance Wu) starts off the film in 2007 working as a stripper in a club in New York. She struggles to live and make money in her job. Wu gives a good performance with a character that is very relatable. She lives with her grandma and is not so confident about her future, however, things change when she meets Ramona (Jennifer Lopez). Ramona is someone who has a lot of confidence and likes to have and be in control. The movie follows Wu and Lopez as they start to make plans to profit off of rich guys from Wall Street and how to deal with the struggles of life after the 2008 crisis.

Director Scafaria brings a type of  “Adam Mckay” mixed with “Martin Scorsese” movie to follow this group of strippers. Right at the beginning of the movie, Scafaria uses an approach in which she cuts to Wu during an interview in 2015 where she states that things did not go as planned. The reason that I say that Scafaria uses an “Adam Mckay”  type is because of the use of cuts and how the movie is edited. The movie keeps going back and forth in time, from dates between 2007 to 2015, and Scafaria edits in a way that makes it feel very realistic and a bit episodic, even though it goes straight to the main points.

The story is good, but it would not have worked if it wasn’t for the great cast. At some point in the movie, Wu asks Lopez, how can she so good at her job. I kept wondering about that question because this might be one of Lopez’s best performances. The movie is driven by her character and her control. A character that outsmarts others and likes to control situations. We were all affected by the 2008 crisis, even the strippers. This is where Lopez’s character comes in, to assemble a group of girls who are willing to work, even though the others do not do much, you buy into the idea that this group actually represents a family, refereeing to mob films, such as like “Martin Scorsese’s” films.

“Hustlers” is a movie about control and family. It shows how many people were affected by the crisis and how they worked their way out of it to live their best lives. It has one of the best Lopez’s performance and you will probably be hearing her name a lot in this upcoming awards season. Make sure to check it out.

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