Review: “Hustlers” Gave Spotlight to Jennifer Lopez’ Acting Skill
Jennifer Lopez isn’t particularly known as a serious actress. Yes, she has acting gigs here and there, however it isn’t until “Hustlers” that we believe that this Latina could embody her role so well. “Hustlers” produced by STX Entertainment and directed by Lorene Scafaria was loosely inspired by a true story and an interview with an ex-stripper which was published at New York Magazine. In a true-crime style, “Hustlers” chronicles a scheme run by a group of strippers in New York who sabotaged their clients’ credit card in order to get a lot amount of cash. The film was told from the perspective of Destiny (Constance Wu), an Asian-American woman who tried her luck in the stripping world to provide for her grandmother. Without specific skill or knowledge, her career was going nowhere until she met Ramona Vega, a seasoned dancer who could rake up thousands of dollar in a single night. Bedazzled by how Ramona could lure various clients, Destiny was taken under his wing and learned tips and tricks from the veteran. Together, the two became the center of attention at Moves, the name of the strip club they worked at. They mostly catered to Wall Street guys who spent huge amount of money at the club every night.
However, 2008 economic crisis in the United States proved to be a real test to their relationship and income. In a desperate measure, Ramona had a trick up on her sleeve. She asked some girls at the club to drug their clients and took their credit cards until reaching the limit. The scheme was done and run smoothly by four girls including Ramona, Destiny, Mercedes, and Annabelle. These foursome became the backbone of the club until they decided to be independent. How long this scheme was going to last before a client was overdosed or realized that their money was being embezzled? From the perspective of Destiny, we could see how things were run and how this criminal scheme was kept secret for years. As an audience, we could emphatize with the strippers on why they did the things they had to do. Jennifer Lopez really became a dancer and a mother who was ready to hustle, no matter how big the risk was. Seeing her routine on the pole was really wholesome and made us feel inadequate to the power that she holds.
The movie uses a flashback plot simultaneously with present plot in order to keep the story going through the eyes of Destiny who was being interviewed by Jennifer (Julia Still). Constance Wu also gave a magnificent performance that we saw a lot of mixed emotions in between her scenes. “Hustlers” is a sleeper hit that might give Jennifer Lopez her very first Academy Awards’ nomination in 2020. This movie is delightful to watch with various entertaining tidbits in the beginning.
Reviewer: Novita Widia