Hustlers (2019): ‘Wolf Street Heists with a Feminine Touch’ – A Film Review


So it came to me a while back that we’re in a strange period of cinematic history where, under the radar, Heist Films were getting a lot attention – but they always had a big twist. To call Hustlers a heist film would be strangely on point whilst being way off. This film is a lot more like an all female answer to The Wolf of Wall Street but with some Party Monster vibes or Runner Runner. Like many of these films, Hustlers is based upon a true story – or at least an article exploring something that was meant to have happened. ‘The Hustlers at Scores‘ was an article published by Jessica Pressler in New York Magazine about criminals that made a lot of money stealing from people, but with its own interesting spin – they were strippers.

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Depiction and Representation

Laid out with a double narrative to tell its narrative, there are some really impressive use of audio sound design and story telling tricks. The cinematography is quite impressive and helps the tone to be something which the film is not, but easily could be: seedy. For a film about strippers, Hustlers is a very human and realistic story that manages to conceal glamour right in front of the audience. It is there, but it is ignored because of the story that sucks you in. As such, the important technical aspects of the film are focusing much more on how to depict the characters, the story and the events that take place. SPOILERS: A notable and emotional moment occurs when a tape recorder is switched off and the audio cuts out. END OF SPOILERS.

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A Story of Professional Friendships

Jennifer Lopez (Ramona) and Constance Wu (Destiny) are the ‘Party Monsters’ of this film. They are the Jordan Belfort or the Richie Furst. The way that they are seduced into moments, but play off each other, depicting a relationship of strained and interesting friendships, is what lies at the core of the film, pretending to be about crime. The sideline characters aren’t as effective as they are, with a few notable exceptions. However, the story isn’t really about them as much as these two. It isn’t to say that they are objects, far from it – they easily could have been. They are just not quite as powerful or as interesting as the central two. Julia Stiles (Elizabeth) does very well in a minor role, supporting the story as an interviewer – intrigued and provoking the story.

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So this is Hustlers, an all girl The Wolf of Wall Street? We’d be missing the point but there’s a lot of striking similarities. A heist? Not exactly either. Crime occurs, stolen from people, but there’s not exactly a break in. It’s an interesting story with a strange amount of heart, walking a good line for a film about strippers to walk. Hustlers is a lot more real than your standard film about strippers, if you came in for that then you’re looking for a very different film.



Destiny is trying to make it as a stripper and is taken under the wing of Ramona. When Wall Street crashes, they need to find other ways of keeping their business alive.




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A Note on My Reviews

Please read ‘On Reviews‘ for a guide to how I write film reviews. Any spoilers are appropriately marked and, though I personally prefer to know little about a film before seeing it, there is a synopsis below the review for any who wish to see one.


Films Mentioned

Hustlers (d. Lorene Scafaria USA 2019)

Party Monster (d. Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato USA/Netherlands 2003)

Runner Runner (d. Brad Furman USA 2013)

The Wolf of Wall Street (d. Martin Scorsese USA 2013)


Further Reading

Official Site

Director Interview

Cast Interview

Jennifer Lopez Interview

Constance Wu Interview

Behind the Scenes Facts

Fun on the Set

On Usher Cameo

Learning to Pole Dance

The Original Article


If you liked this

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (2019): ‘Tarantino’s History’ – A Film Review

Ocean’s Eight (2018): ‘All Girl Heist Reboot?’ – A Film Review

Widows (2018): ‘The life of the Wife of a Criminal’ – A Film Review


This was an analytical review of….


Hustlers (d. Lorene Scafaria USA 2019)

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