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Is the Hustlers Trailer Already My Favorite Movie of the Year?

I want this movie to be everything Ocean's Eight wasn't.

As a critic and film lover, I know better than to judge a movie by its trailer. After all, trailers can lie, showing us the best scenes of their film or misrepresenting a movie entirely. But despite that, can I just say that I am beyond excited for the feminist crime caper that is Hustlers?

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It was only a few months ago that the film was announced, boasting an impressive cast that includes Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Cardi B, Lizzo, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, and Julia Stiles. The film is based on the 2016 New York Magazine article, “The Hustlers at Scores” by Jessica Pressler, which documents the true story of a group of New York strippers who fleeced money from their Wall Street clientele.

It’s a compelling crime tale with an irresistible feminist bent: a group of women who are tired of losing their hard-earned cash to unscrupulous strip club owners start their own gang and go after the most hateable and deserving kind of men: Wall Street bros responsible for the 2008 economic recession. As Lopez says in the trailer, “These Wall Street guys, you see what they did to this country? They stole from everybody. Hard-working people lost everything. And not one of these douchebags went to jail.”

It’s empowerment via revenge, made all the more satisfying by writer/director Lorene Scafaria (The Meddler). Even in the brief trailer, we see that Hustlers doesn’t share the lascivious male gaze that most films about strippers or sex workers have. A film about strippers that is not exploitative is revolutionary in its own right, let alone one that allows the women agency, power, and personality beyond just a fantasy.

Hustlers also shows promise as yet another film in the burgeoning trend of female-driven crime films. The beats are all there: a young innocent taken under the wing of a seasoned pro. A planned robbery that seems easy and victimless. An inevitable escalation due to greed, drugs, and hubris. It’s a classic crime tale, but this time its told by and starring women.

The film will undoubtedly draw comparisons to the other star-studded female heist film, Ocean’s Eight. While that film had promise and fun moments, it ultimately fell flat for me. The women weren’t fully-drawn characters, and much of Sandra Bullock’s motivation for the caper was to get back at an ex that wronged her. The film felt like a missed opportunity, and had me wondering what it could have looked like if told from a female perspective.

Hustlers hits theaters in September, and has all the makings of a breakout hit and a feminist classic. Here’s hoping it lives up to the hype.

(via LA Times, image: Barbara Nitke/STX Films)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.

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