Critics Consensus

Led by a career-best performance from Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers is a uniquely empowering heist drama with depth and intelligence to match its striking visual appeal.



Total Count: 280


Audience Score

Verified Ratings: 15,243
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Movie Info

Hustlers follows a crew of savvy former strip club employees who band together to turn the tables on their Wall Street clients.


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Critic Reviews for Hustlers

All Critics (280) | Top Critics (38) | Fresh (247) | Rotten (33)

Audience Reviews for Hustlers

  • 5d ago
    "Hustlers" is a level- headed and even-handed true crime story that is so strongly directed and acted... and smartly written, that you never get a sense that Director Lorene Scofaria (Seeking a Friend fir the End of the World) is expoiting any of the parties involved, or is passing any judgements. The strippers that break bad at the center of this tale are human beings in over their heads, and we care based on a plethora of great performances by the likes of Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, and Julia Stiles, and because Scofaria drops the audience in the fold with a voyeuristic touch. It's all very down to earth and matter of fact. For all the talk of the film's flex as feminist empowerment, I failed to see any agenda being pushed. Instead I saw a very entertaining and well made piece of "based on facts" fiction that while not very original stylistically, was worth telling. I wholeheartedly agree with the film's near unanimous festival buzz. It's pretty great.
    Michael P Super Reviewer
  • Sep 24, 2019
    As Maya Angelou famously said, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." Hustlers, the new film from writer/director Lorene Scafaria comes riddled with imperfections. It has too many montages, a few wafer-thin characterizations, plot strands which go nowhere, and some fairly low stakes drama, but man does it make you feel good. It also glamorizes fur and smoking, but it's the world of this story, so what are you gonna do? The whole is greater than the sum of its parts but this joyous ride has a couple killer performances, memorable lines, and a gorgeous pop candy look. Simply put, it's unforgettable and made me feel so, so good. Up until now, Scafaria hasn't impressed me with Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World and The Meddler underwhelming me. With Hustlers, however, she has mastered the art of finding that sweet spot where lurid meets depth. Wildly entertaining yet with something to say about female power, it reminded me of such sensationalistic 90s films as Basic Instinct and Showgirls. Only this time out, the feminist female gaze stakes its claim on what's always been a boy's club movie. Based on a true story, Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians) stars as Destiny, a newbie exotic dancer at a Scores-like Manhattan club who gets mentored by Ramona (Jennifer Lopez), an experienced Mother Hen shortly before the 2008 financial crisis. Lopez, whose National Treasure status gets amped up to eleven here, stuns in her first big scene as she pole dances onstage. She follows this with an indelible rooftop pose in which she lies back like Faye Dunaway the day after her Oscar win (Google it. You're welcome!), takes a drag from her cigarette and invites Destiny to "Climb in my fur". Thus begins a fascinatingly complex relationship between these two women who try to make a living as the world around them crumbles. When the market crashes and business dies at the club, Ramona can't stand the fact that these men will get away with stealing from everyone, so her revenge/survival scheme, however illegal, has a sound motive. In this pretty clever get-rich-quick scheme, one of her cohorts will befriend their mark, get him drunk, introduce him to her other friends, get a party going, drug him, and max out his credit cards. The day after, the mostly married men won't want to admit to their wives what they did, so our heroines have constructed a seemingly perfect crime. Framed by a reporter played by Julia Stiles, a retrospective interview she conducts with a hardened Destiny tells us things didn't quite go as planned. Ramona and Destiny set this standard-issue plot apart by nature of their dynamic personalities and their touching back stories. Ramona has a daughter she adores whereas Destiny lovingly takes care of her grandmother. You really get to know these characters as layered humans and not just as sexual objects. I haven't seen this much loving detail put into a populist film since Saturday Night Fever. Wu surprises with her intense gaze and forthright line readings, revealing much more than her prior romantic comedy image. She's incredibly engaging, but Lopez dominates this film and gives the performance of her career. It's not that we're realizing Lopez is a star for the first time, but this film puts together everything we love about her - the glamour, the moves, the flawless makeup, the combination of delightful and steely, the strut, the Kardashian of it all - and delivers it with blazing power and heart. It's a great star performance. Supporting characters, albeit fun, suffer by default. Lili Reinhart and Keke Palmer, while both vibrant, get assigned one character trait apiece, the dancer who vomits and the dancer who has a husband in prison respectively. Mercedes Reuhl gets introduced as the club's Den Mother, but never develops beyond a few brush strokes. I would have loved a lot more of Madeline Brewer (The Handmaid's Tale) whose wildcard character kept me laughing and on my toes. Cardi B and Lizzo have cameos so small, they can barely pull focus away from Lopez and Wu, yet they bring a wild energy to the story. Cardi B especially makes good use of her limited screen time and gets the line of the movie when her lap dance tutorial contains instructions for Destiny to "work the clock, not the cock." Luckily, Scafaria's energetic script has tons more hilarious zingers where that came from and an epic, Scorsese feel. She's helped immeasurably by her talented cinematographer Todd Banhazl and editor Kayla Emter. Hustlers does not have the feel of your typical indie. It feels lush, generous, and despite a few too many montages, however bouncy and hilarious, it's a full meal. Yes, the stakes could have been higher, but the soul of this film lies in the sisterhood and this powerful love between Ramona and Destiny. You root for these women even though they're doing some very bad things. The film culminates in a stunner of a line from Ramona, framing this somewhat slight but beautiful story as something more global, real and current. In the end, it's a depressing indictment of America, but when you have Jennifer Lopez giving us that message, somehow, it doesn't feel so bad.
    Glenn G Super Reviewer
  • Sep 17, 2019
    Think of it as a feminist companion piece to The Wolf of Wall Street or The Big Short. Inspired by a true story, Hustlers follows a diverse group of strippers who wine and dine Wall Street middlemen and execs, feeding off the spoils of their feeding frenzy, and then eventually upping their game, drugging them and fleecing them for one wild night that they'll be too embarrassed to report that next morning. The story grabs you early on and is stuffed full of interesting details about the ins and outs of the stripping industry as well as how to service and manipulate the wealthier men who frequent said clubs. Hustlers becomes a combination of a crime caper, a con artist thriller, and a class-conscious drama about the haves and have nots, but it really becomes a showcase for the talents of one Jennifer Lopez, a woman who does not seem at all close to her fifty years on this planet (her introduction is quite the jaw-dropper). Lopez plays Ramona, the alpha leader of the group, a loving single mom with a healthy distaste for the hand she's been dealt. She is sensational and delivers the best performance of her long career. Even when she's doing bad things, even when she's taking bold risks, there is a moral center to that woman, an unbreakable heart for the people she chooses to let into her life, and it does not budge, which was a poignant note. In many ways she is more the main character than Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians), a figure that serves as more entry point than fully-fleshed out character. I enjoyed learning the various tricks of the trade writer/director Lorene Scarfaria (Seeking a Friend for the End of the World) peppers throughout with her love of montage and stylish transitions, but it really picked up after the 2008 financial crash where the women cross over into direct criminality. At first they figure they're just skipping ahead, drugging with MDMA rather than waiting for their marks to get drunk ("Drunk enough to order the bill but sober enough to sign the check," Ramona cautions). Then things get escalated and sloppy and the women are in trouble. It's a fun ride watching the ladies get theirs, and I was challenged to muster much of any sympathy for their Wall Street marks. Part of me wishes more women would be inspired by this movie and follow suit, fleecing the people who fleeced our economy. The movie rides that wave of the good times you know can't last, prolonging the fall we're all anticipating coming. The supporting characters can be a bit weak; several of the other girls involved in the scheme merit one note of description, and some of the humor feels a bit out of place, like a running joke where one of the women nervously vomits often (this is like her single character trait, and it's weird). It's also likely the stripper-centric movie with the least nudity I've ever seen, thanks to Scarfaria treating a sensational story with candor rather than exploitation. Hustlers is a glitzy drama that will entertain you with its flash and then surprise you with its edge. And all hail, Jennifer Lopez, ageless wonder and underrated actress getting her due. Nate's Grade: B
    Nate Z Super Reviewer

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