By RAVI MAKAM
“Hustlers,” a film directed by Lorene Scafaria, explores the trials and tribulations of a former stripper named Dorothy (Constance Wu). The story follows a group of strippers as they out-scheme Wall Street bankers who screwed over the innocent lives of millions of Americans.
A great aspect of this film is how it has a headlined female cast, featuring Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, Cardi B and Lizzo.
The film starts in 2007, before the 2008 financial crisis. Dorothy meets Ramona (Jennifer Lopez) and seeks out how to become a stripper since she’s in need of money.
The strippers’ main clients in the club were mega-wealthy investment bankers, Wall Street brokers and CEOs of big companies. The film is a representation of how some of these wealthy New Yorkers spent their money, or as Ramona put it, “the firemen’s 401ks money.”
However, this movie is not simply about strippers in New York City. The main plot begins to unfold when the 2008 financial crisis hits, leading the United States into the Great Recession.
It is exposed that the big Wall Street bankers were involved in a great financial scheme, which caused hard times for everyone, even the main characters, who started losing customers due to these bankers having less disposable income.
This is what I absolutely loved about this film; it showed what really happened to people who are marginalized by society, focusing on the strippers. It gives them a story and shows why some people have no other option.
These women decide that they are going to scam the Wall Street men who caused the Great Recession. However, they do it in a very dark way. They drug them with special K and MDMA, then they take their credit cards and max them out. This is how they are funding their lives for the next couple of years. Scheming sleazy bankers is the catch that gets the audience thinking.
Senior English major Joe Langley said, “this movie made me think about truly who is in the wrong, the main characters or their victims,” adding to the central point of this film.
Langley added, “the bankers who were victimized by the strippers are not actually victims. Those people in power of the biggest financial institutions committed the biggest fraud against the most innocent of Americans.”
Furthermore, it was amazing to see such a strong female cast in this film. It is wonderful to see these powerful women come together to share the story of independent women just trying to make a living and survive.
Senior communication major Alex Caldas said, “In an age where we have seen so many atrocities committed against women for so long, it is a beautiful sight to see these amazing women give light to the stories of women who are otherwise thought of as afterthoughts.”
I could not agree more with Caldas’s point. It is time to give a platform to more of the people who are shunned by society, and this film highlights that progression to the greater goal of acceptance.