“Hustlers,” based on a true story, follows a group of professional pole dancers that dips their toes into a life of crime. After the financial crisis strikes, they resort to drugging and robbing unsuspecting men. Mainly following Dorothy, also known by her stripper name, Destiny (played by Constance Wu), we watch as she tries to earn more money to take care of herself and her ailing grandmother.
As the film begins, we are introduced to how Dorothy and Ramona, played by Jennifer Lopez, first meet. This serves as a major component in the film as their relationship is the true kickoff to our story that is “Hustlers.” Ramona, being the veteran in the club they work in, decides to take Dorothy under her wing and mentor her to become better in the field.
From then on, we are introduced to the rest of the crew: Mercedes, Liz and Diamond, played by Keke Palmer, Lizzo and Cardi B, respectively. Annabelle, played by Lili Reinhart, and Elizabeth, played by Julia Stiles, are also introduced later on in the film. Elizabeth, who is set in the future, is working on an article about the lady gang after all the damage is said and done.
In between getting to know the ladies and learning several different new tricks of the trade, Dorothy is living her best life with her new and very experienced mentor, Ramona, by her side. It is in these scenes where you see Constance Wu shine. The vulnerability she portrays through Destiny is certainly a noteworthy performance.
It is also to be noted that Jennifer Lopez as Ramona was a performance worth praise. She played her role with such authenticity and rawness that evolved the character to greater heights. Not to mention a dance performance that is sure to keep people talking for months to come.
It isn’t until the financial crisis hits that prompts our leading ladies to resort to a life of crime due to the club losing most of its customers. They end up doing what they deem necessary to make sure they can continue to live comfortably. This, in turn, leads the ladies down a road of numerous life lessons, which, in the end, either makes or breaks them.
With comedy-heavy hitters like Cardi B and Keke Palmer among the cast, I also have to note that both ladies did amazing jobs serving up laughs with a majority of their lines. While Cardi B was not in the film as much as the latter, her presence was definitely felt throughout the film, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Jennifer Lopez and Lilil Reinhart also contributed to the comedy aspect of the film, showing off both their charisma and comedic appeals. Not to mention a surprise musical appearance from Usher that definitely pushed the film to become one of my favorites of 2019.
With a crazy fascinating story, I was left wildly entertained by the film. It had great pacing in the plot and wonderful performances by the entire cast. You can’t help but feel for the ladies even when you know what they are doing is wrong. It also possessed great themes and undertones, such as family, hustling and many more. I would definitely say these ladies have successfully hustled the box office and earned the title as true Hustlers.
Echo Grade: A