Comedy Crime

The Business of Pleasure: A TIFF Review of ‘Hustlers’

September 7, 2019Ben MK

When the 2008 economic crisis hit, not only did it shatter lives, it served as a much-needed wake-up call for the self-destructive path the global financial industry was on. For one group of women who worked in an industry that preyed just as mercilessly on its unsuspecting patrons and its own employees, however, the crisis spurred them to take their futures into their own hands.

Based on the 2015 New York Magazine article "The Hustlers at Scores," Hustlers follows Destiny (Constance Wu), a single woman just trying to make it for herself in New York City — and maybe help her grandmother with her house payments along the way. But when Destiny gets a job dancing at a popular NYC strip club and meets fellow dancer Ramona (Jennifer Lopez), who seems to have the club and its primarily Wall Street clientele all figured out, it's the beginning of a deep and meaningful partnership that sees the women striking out on their own, turning the tables on the patriarchy, and claiming a stake in what they believe is rightfully theirs.

Directed by Lorene Scafaria and led by strong performances from both Lopez and Wu, Hustlers is a compelling and entertaining look at the power of greed and the business of lust, but it's also an exploration of female friendship and the sacrifices some people are willing to make to get what they want.

Hustlers makes its world premiere at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. Its runtime is 1 hr. 50 min.

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