Thoughts on Hustlers

Over the weekend, I went and saw the movie Hustlers, starring JLo, Constance Wu, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, and a lot more. There are spoilers in this post, just in case you haven’t seen it yet.

First of all…can we just talk about JLo/Ramona’s opening scene. If you haven’t seen it, the movie starts off with Constance Wu, playing Destiny, working at the strip club. She’s walking around, catching any guy who may seem interested, and we get to see the other strippers who work there. We see a couple big names like Mette Towley, who plays Justice, and Miss Cardi B, as Diamond. But when, JLo/Ramona, comes on stage, we know who the HBIC is.

Can we just keep in mind JLo is 50?! I saw an interview she did before the movie premiered and she said she was basically wearing dental floss…she was right. But, she looked damn good! Did I go to the gym the next day inspired by this one scene? Yes, yes I did. It took a lot of hard, physical work to learn how to do those pole moves, but she did it. Props to the queen!

I have many, many favorite scenes from this movie. One that sticks out, is JLo sitting on the roof, fur coat on, and tells newbie girl Destiny, “Get in my fur”. It’s such a boss scene, yet so empowering to see. They start talking about the future and Ramona ends up agreeing to help Destiny with her moves. Destiny is just trying to make ends meet and support her grandma. Two strippers, one veteran, one newbie, just bonding over what they want in the future and no ill will towards each other. It was just authentic.

We’ve all seen strippers or club dancers in movies, but this one being directed by Lorene Scafaria, a female director, really gave it a different and real view. She’s able to portray the bonds and the reasons as to why these women resort to the methods they use to make money.

One scene that stuck out to me, was when Destiny was desperate for money. She has a child and her grandma to support, her boyfriend, played by G-Eazy, just leaves them alone to fend for themselves, after he told her he would take care of them.

After trying to get a retail job, Destiny goes back to the strip club. But its been years, the 2008 recession has drastically changed things, and now there are lots of young, pretty, European girls. It’s not as easy to make money now. The scene that stuck out to me was when a guy offered her $300 for a handjob or blowjob, and after taking some of his coke (I think), she did it and passed out. Turned out he only left $60. We already know how disgusting that business is, yes, it’s glamorized a lot, but it’s a dirty business. The things people have to do for money, plus ending up getting shorted or hurt…the movie shows both sides of that industry.

JLo is definitely the best person to be Ramona, the ring leader. The scene with Destiny, convincing her to join her in drugging men and running up their credit cards is definitely Oscar-worthy. One line she said was, ” You see what they did to this country? These guys stole from everybody. Hard working people lost everything. And not one of these douche-bags went to jail”. She was talking about the men who worked on Wall Street, and most of them are strip club clienteles. I mean…when you say it out loud…it does make sense. People love judging women, especially strippers and others in the sex industry…but who’s keeping that industry alive?

There are so many thought-provoking scenes, I can’t cover them all in this little post. But the movie also has many comedic reliefs. Lili Reinhart, as Annabelle, was a chronic stress vomiter. Even to the end, she’s getting handcuffed and barfs right there, so good. I wasn’t sure what her character would be like, because I’ve only seen her as goody-goody Betty Cooper, but she’s also a very good stripper-scammer. It’s all about versatility folks.

Keke Palmer, playing Mercedes, is also great comic relief. She has her fiance, Dragon, who’s in jail as her motivation for stripping. But, when she starts making money, instead of getting a lawyer, she upgrades her ring…I mean..same. The scene where she doesn’t want to take the naked, knocked out man, into the hospital, and literally runs away in her denim bathing suit is one of the funniest scenes I’ve ever seen.

Overall, I love this movie, the overall plot, the characters, everything about it! In case you didn’t know, this is actually based on a true story. You can check it out here!

“You have people tossing money and people doing the dance” – Ramona Vega Hustlers

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