Directed by: Lorene Scafaria
Starring: Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Stiles, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, Lizzo, Cardi B
Genre: Comedy, Crime, Drama
Release date: September 13, 2019
Running Time: 110 Minutes
Inspired by the viral New York Magazine article, Hustlers follows a crew of savvy former strip club employees who band together to turn the tables on their Wall Street clients.
Hustlers is an upcoming American comedy-drama film written and directed by Lorene Scafaria, based on New York magazine’s 2015 article “The Hustlers at Scores” by Jessica Pressler. The film stars Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Stiles, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, Lizzo, and Cardi B.
The film will have its world premiere on September 7, 2019, at the Toronto International Film Festival, and it is scheduled to be released on September 13, 2019, by STXfilms.
The story centers around a group of strippers, led by an aging and ambitious single mother, as they lie, steal, and hustle dozens of wealthy men when the sex industry bottoms out during the late-2000s financial crisis. A journalist covering the story for a magazine interviews one of the ringleaders and tries to figure out where it all went wrong.
In February 2016, it was announced Jessica Elbaum, Will Ferrell and Adam McKay would produce the film, under their Gloria Sanchez Productions banner. In May 2016, Annapurna Pictures was announced to produce, finance, and distribute the film, with Megan Ellison and Chelsea Barnard serving as producers on the film. In August 2018, it was announced Jennifer Lopez would star in the film, with Lorene Scafaria directing from a screenplay she wrote. In October 2018, it was announced Annapurna had dropped the film, with STX Entertainment acquiring distribution rights to the film and Constance Wu joining the cast. Annapurna allegedly dropped the film due to budget concerns. However, it was later revealed they would co-produce the film. In March 2019, Cardi B, Lili Reinhart, Keke Palmer, Julia Stiles, and Mercedes Ruehl joined the cast with Mette Towley and Trace Lysette in negotiations to join as well. That same month, Madeline Brewer and Frank Whaley joined the cast of the film. In April 2019, Lizzo joined the cast of the film. In May 2019, Usher joined the cast of the film.
Filming began on March 22, 2019 in New York City, and wrapped on May 4, 2019. The official trailer was released on July 17, 2019.
The film will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 2019 and is scheduled to be released on September 13, 2019.
Hustlers Movie Trailer:
Hustlers Movie Review:
Jennifer Lopez’s stunning new film is Scorsese with strippers
Hustlers is a tremendously entertaining film, but it is also deceptively deep, with singles of wisdom slipped under its glittery g-strings. It wonderfully combines the best aspects of Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas and Steven Soderbergh’s runaway 2012 hit, Magic Mike.
As much of an escapist fantasy as it is, it is also a cautionary tale; about greed, excess, and the frequently flimsy excuses people make to justify amoral acts. Essentially told in flashback, Hustlers chronicles a modern day Robin Hood story of a few strippers, who, according to The Cut, ‘stole from (mostly) rich, (usually) disgusting, (in their minds) pathetic men and gave to, well, themselves’.
Our surrogate in this seedy world is Dorothy (Constance Wu), a single mother who during a particularly difficult time in her life is forced to become a stripper to support her grandmother and young daughter. At a New York club, she is introduced to Ramona (Jennifer Lopez), who is somewhat of a legend in the those circles. Word around the club is that she can take home thousands of dollars every night.
The self-sustaining ecosystem that Hustlers explores reminded me of the segment in the non-fiction book Maximum City, in which author Suketu Mehta investigated the lives of Mumbai’s dance bar girls. Both the film and the book share an empathetic tone that we don’t often see in stories such as this. The profession, as we must understand, isn’t entirely victimless, and as insensitive as it would be to treat these characters without respect, it would be just as tone-deaf to celebrate their newly acquired wealth.
“On a good night,” Mehta wrote in Maximum City, “a dancer in a Bombay bar can make twice as much as a high-class stripper in New York does.”
The trick, as both Dorothy and Maximum City’s Monalisa learn very early in their careers, is to play the long con. The idea is to develop relationships with vulnerable chumps, to make them feel desired, loved, in control — emotions that they probably haven’t experienced in a while. And in return, they’ll buy you cars; put you through school; pay the rent for your expensive apartment.
But then, the 2008 recession hits, and all of a sudden, the money dries up. Dorothy is suddenly back in square one; with little cash and even fewer options. And that is when Ramona comes up with a plan. She rounds up a bunch of the girls, and with Dorothy as her number two, they set about drugging unsuspecting dudes and maxing out their credit cards. When the guys wake up the next morning and realise they’ve been taken for a ride, what are they going to do? “Call the cops and say ‘I spent $5000 at a strip club, send help?’”
Ramona justifies the scam by giving a lecture that she appears to believe in: these guys robbed the entire country, sent the global economy spiralling out of control, and not one of them went to jail. It’s iffy reasoning, but not nearly as nonsensical as some of the stuff we saw in the recent, and very similar film, The Kitchen.
Written and directed by Lorene Scafaria, Hustlers, like its feisty heroines, reveals more emotional layers as the superficial ones are stripped off. She constructs her movie in a way that might feel slightly jarring at first — the temporal shifts are sudden, and significant — but over time, the techniques begin to take thematic relevance. By refusing to disclose every detail about these characters’ lives, Scafaria protects their dignity.
And dignified would be a good way to describe the performances, particularly those of Constance Wu, who was so charming in Crazy Rich Asians, and Jennifer Lopez, who hasn’t been given a role this meaty in many years. She brings such a unique mix of vulnerability and bravado to Ramona, particularly in the closing few minutes of the film, which had more emotion and wisdom than I was prepared for.
At a time when both our economy and our morality seem to have hit a dangerous low, Hustlers is the movie of the moment.