By Ume Sarfaraz
With an empowered female driven cast, the director and writer of “Hustlers” exceeded expectations with the film bringing in $74 million take at the box office thus far.
The cast includes Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, Cardi B, Lizzo, Julia Stiles and Madeline Brewer.
“Hustlers” focuses on the lives of a group of dancers at a Manhattan strip club who lure wealthy Wall Street men into the club to take what the dancers feel they are rightfully owed.
Based on a true story, the film offers a realistic view of a strip club environment and the struggles that the employees go through.
Samantha Barbash was the real-life inspiration behind Jennifer Lopez’s character. Barbash plead guilty to two counts of conspiracy, four counts of grand larceny, two counts of assault, four counts of grand larceny and one count of forgery in 2014. She was sentenced to five years’ probation. The remaining women also pleaded guilty but faced lighter sentences.
Lopez plays Ramona, the ringleader, and a famous dancer at the strip club. Ramona is known for her moves and has a long list of wealthy Wall Street clients who come in the club to see her. She knows how to entice the men, as a few of them are already paying for her living expenses.
Wu’s character, Destiny, is an upcoming dancer in the club who’s barely making ends meet, but still has to support her daughter and grandmother.
After seeing Ramona dance at the club, Destiny is determined to work the pole and manipulate the men who enter the club, just like Ramona.
For Ramona, manipulating men is the way to score big. She knows that more women mean more money.
After gathering up a few other dancers from the club, Ramona creates her team, and with her expertise, the women soon form an unlikely sisterhood to get back at the sleazy men who enter the club.
Reinhart, who plays Annabelle, lives alone and is forced to work at the club to support herself in the bustling city. Palmer plays the role of Mercedes, an easy-going woman who isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty but struggles to make money dancing on the pole.
Cardi B, who is a famous stripper turned rapper, plays Diamond. Her cameo appearance as a dancer in the movie steals the scene as she shows Destiny how to give a proper lap dance to clients. Her familiarity with the strip club environment shines through as she effortlessly executes the moves.
The music and dialogue used in the movie is very true to its time. As the movie takes the audience through the course of 10 years, they get to witness the change in dialogue as well as music.
But the scene that truly captures the audience in the theatre is Ramona’s entrance dance. Lopez is able to make the pole an accessory as she keeps the audience in a trance with her dance moves.
Ramona shows the lengths she’s willing to go through while trying to be a leader the other women can look up to. In doing so, Ramona’s character evolves from a maternal figure to a tyrant.
Meanwhile, she tries to cling to her youth, Ramona struggles to be the same confident women she was when she first met Destiny.
Ultimately, the women in the movie are able to use their individual vulnerabilities as powerful weapons in their scheme to scam their male clients. While they may not all be the best dancers, over time they learn what the men entering the club really want over time — a good time with beautiful women.
Without a doubt, “Hustlers,” currently playing in all major movie theaters, will having you dancing in your seat. The film grips you from the beginning and by the end has you wondering, could you make it as a hustler?
Contact Ume Sarfaraz at firstname.lastname@example.org