By: Nastassja Posso
NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y.- On Sept. 7, 2019, the American crime drama film,“Hustlers” had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. Hustlers was then released to theaters in the United States on Sept. 13, 2019. Aside from starring renowned actresses like Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Keke Palmer, Lizzo and Cardi B, the film had a full female cast. Hustlers was directed and written by Lorene Scafaria and is based on “The Hustlers at Scores” by Jessica Pressler.
Hustlers is about a group of strippers in New York City who drug and steal money from several wealthy men who visit their club. What many people don’t know prior to watching the movie is about how emotionally deep the plot actually is. The storyline starts off from the point of view of Destiny, who was struggling financially while also taking care of her grandmother.
Destiny’s life changes completely after she is mesmerized by Ramona’s performance at the strip club one night. After seeing Ramona, a veteran stripper that clearly is doing well in what she does, she meets her at the roof of the club. After a long conversation, Ramona agrees to take Destiny under her wing and they become an inseparable duo.
Ramona coached Destiny on everything she knew and showed her the ways on how to bring home a lot more money than a stripper normally would- in an illegal way, that is. Destiny and Ramona then built a beautiful friendship where money was no longer an issue.
Years later, unfortunately, Ramona and Destiny were no longer “business partners” and they found themselves in a financial rut, once again. Ramona was working retail at Old Navy and Destiny was now a single mother. They met again after a journalist was interviewing Destiny on her old friend, Ramona. The journalist had suggested they should meet again, so Destiny looked for her again.
When they reconnect, Ramona introduces Destiny to her new scheme of getting rich men drunk at a bar, escorting them to a club and stealing their credit card numbers to charge them to their limit. After Destiny agrees to take part in this, she learns that Ramona had been using a mix of ketamine and MDMA to drug their victims. Although she was reluctant to the plan, she went through with it and it worked.
As the targets became too much to handle, Ramona began to add more members to the group in which they ended up with two more girls they could actually trust with the process, Annabelle and Mercedes.
The movie does a great job in presenting the behind the scenes life of a stripper/sex worker. All the financial burdens the actresses portray truly reflect the financial burdens that performers go through on a daily basis. Although the robbery and crimes were definitely not ethical in any way, this story is about a group of women who don’t agree with the work that Wall Street had been doing including how they had been stealing people’s money. Then, that was how they resulted to “hustling” their own money.
Lastly, the movie explains how hard it is to get a job, especially as a current or former stripper. The actresses did a fantastic job playing the roles of strippers and showing a true friendship bond on the big screen. After playing Ramona, Jennifer Lopez was praised and nominated for several awards after her famous pole scene in the beginning of the movie.
SPOILER: Although the crimes and robbery ended up bringing the four women immediate happiness and lots of wealth for them and their families, the movie didn’t exactly conclude in a happy ending for them. Like most things in life, they had to take some sort of responsibility and consequences for their actions.