Hustlers

Hustlers

2019, R, 109 min. Directed by Lorene Scafaria. Starring Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Stiles, Madeline Brewer, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, Cardi B, Lizzo.

REVIEWED By Matthew Monagle, Fri., Sept. 20, 2019

Here are two seemingly contradictory statements that are nevertheless true. Statement one: Hustlers, a true-crime drama based on Jessica Pressler's 2015 New York Magazine article "The Hustlers at Scores," offers a conventional narrative about a group of would-be criminals. They hatch a plan, build an empire, and – in a dramatic and entirely expected turn of events – watch as this empire topples under the weight of its greed. Statement two: Hustlers is an absolute joy and one of the most refreshing movies you’ll see all year.

Destiny (Wu) is barely scratching out a meager living at a Manhattan strip club. In one room, the manager pockets a little extra money for keeping her on the schedule; in another, the doorman fishes a few bills out of her pocket in exchange for a vague promise of protection. When Destiny meets Ramona (Lopez), a veteran dancer with a knack for parting a man from his money, they form an instant bond. What begins as a professional arrangement – Ramona teaches Destiny how to navigate the club’s customers and Destiny partners with Ramona on the high-rollers – soon turns into a fierce friendship, and it isn’t long before the two dancers are sitting in the lap of luxury.

Few films released this year will be able to match the onscreen chemistry of Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez. With all apologies to Selena and Out of Sight, Hustlers instantly becomes the best performance of Lopez’s career. She’s equal parts kindly godmother and strip club apex predator, weaponizing the desire of her male clients to wring as much financial value from them as possible. In fact, for much of the film’s first-half, Wu is asked to do nothing more than stare at Lopez with naked admiration. It’s a stage direction happily adopted by every single person watching Hustlers in the theater.

Without these performances, Hustlers would still be a sober examination of the 2008 recession through the eyes of those who make their living adjacent to Wall Street. In the film’s most dynamic moments, Scafaria regularly cuts between the trading floor and the club; this underscores the opulent lifestyles of the Manhattan stockbrokers, of course, but it all draws parallels between the men who made millions off the real estate market and the women who work under Ramona’s watchful eye. Each group both enjoys and excels at what they do, but it is the Wall Street moneymakers – not the strippers – who are treated as an integral part of the American dream.

When Destiny and Ramona begin drugging their clients to maximize their earnings, the film veers into standard crime territory, positioning Hustlers as a modern mafia film in stilettos. It should feel overly familiar – after all, the expected beats are all present – but the genius of Scafaria’s script is in how she refuses to give in to generic convention. In one scene, we spend an entire Christmas Day with Ramona and her friends as they open presents and enjoy the company of others; the scene only ends when Jessica (Stiles), the reporter pulling together an article on Destiny and her friends, grows tired of the sentimental nature of the story. “So, getting back to the drugging,” she interjects, cutting off the Christmas flashback midstream. The look of annoyance on Destiny’s face is also a challenge to the audience. Why do we assume these women’s lives would be defined only by conflict?

With a refreshingly dynamic soundtrack – an entire generation of cinephiles is about to become familiar with the songs of Scott Walker – and impressive costume design, it’s fair to say that almost everything about the film works as intended. The friendship between Destiny and Ramona gives Hustlers that extra gear. When you care about someone, you look after them with a fierceness that can frighten; this truth is baked into every moment that Wu and Lopez share onscreen. Your Jennifer Lopez Oscar campaign can now begin.

Showtimes

Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz

320 E. Sixth, 512/861-7020, www.drafthouse.com/austin/theater/ritz

Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily by phone or website.

Sun., Sept. 15

12:30, 3:30

Sun., Sept. 15

9:55

Mon., Sept. 16

12:30, 12:55, 3:15, 3:40, 6:00, 6:25, 9:00, 9:20, 11:10

Tue., Sept. 17

3:15, 3:40, 6:00, 6:25, 9:00, 9:20, 11:10
AFA 12:30, 12:55

Wed., Sept. 18

12:30, 12:55, 3:15, 3:40, 6:00, 6:25, 9:00, 9:20, 11:10

Sun., Sept. 15

12:45, 1:55, 2:35, 3:35, 6:30, 9:20

Mon., Sept. 16

6:15, 10:00

Tue., Sept. 17

3:30, 4:00, 6:30, 9:30
AFA 12:30, 1:00

Wed., Sept. 18

12:50, 1:30, 4:25, 7:20, 10:15

Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Lane

5701 W. Slaughter, 512/861-7060, drafthouse.com/austin/theater/slaughter-lane

Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily times by phone or website.

Sun., Sept. 15

10:30
OC 10:45am

Mon., Sept. 16

10:50

Tue., Sept. 17

10:25
AFA 10:45am, 1:40

Wed., Sept. 18

10:25

Sun., Sept. 15

11:25am, 2:15, 2:35, 5:05, 8:00, 9:30, 11:00

Mon., Sept. 16

11:00am, 1:50, 4:40, 7:45, 10:15, 10:45

Tue., Sept. 17

7:15
AFA 10:40am, 1:30

Wed., Sept. 18

11:00am, 1:50, 4:40, 6:00

Alamo Drafthouse Village

2700 W. Anderson #701, 512/861-7030, www.drafthouse.com/austin/theater/village

Tuesday matinee Baby Day shows (first show of the day) are intended for parents and their children younger than 6. Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily times by phone or website.

Sun., Sept. 15

7:00, 7:00, 10:05, 10:05
7:00, 7:00, 10:05, 10:05

Mon., Sept. 16

6:30, 6:30, 9:30, 9:30
6:30, 6:30, 9:30, 9:30

Tue., Sept. 17

6:30, 6:30, 7:30, 7:30, 10:00, 10:00, 10:55, 10:55
6:30, 6:30, 7:30, 7:30, 10:00, 10:00, 10:55, 10:55

Wed., Sept. 18

6:30, 6:30, 9:35, 9:35
6:30, 6:30, 9:35, 9:35

Barton Creek Square (AMC)

2901 South Capital of Texas Hwy, 512/306-1991, www.amctheatres.com

Matinee discounts available before 4pm daily. Bring Your Baby matinees the first Tuesday of every month.

Sun., Sept. 15

AMC Dolby, CC/DVS 11:10am, 1:50, 4:30, 7:10
CC/DVS 11:50am, 2:30, 5:10, 7:50, 10:30, 11:00

Mon., Sept. 16

AMC Dolby, CC/DVS 4:30
CC/DVS 5:20, 7:10, 8:00

Tue., Sept. 17

AMC Dolby, CC/DVS 4:30
CC/DVS 5:20, 7:10, 8:00

Wed., Sept. 18

AMC Dolby, CC/DVS 4:30
CC/DVS 5:20, 7:10, 8:00

Cinemark 20 and XD

N. I-35 & FM 1825, 512/989-8535

Cost for 3-D and XD shows is regular ticket price plus a premium.

Sun., Sept. 15

digital 10:00am, 11:15am, 12:45, 2:00, 3:30, 4:45, 6:15, 6:55, 7:15, 7:30, 9:00, 10:00, 10:15

Mon., Sept. 16

digital 12:45, 2:00, 3:30, 4:45, 6:15, 7:30, 9:00, 10:15

Tue., Sept. 17

digital 12:45, 2:00, 3:30, 4:45, 6:15, 7:30, 9:00, 10:15

Wed., Sept. 18

digital 12:45, 2:00, 3:30, 4:45, 6:15, 7:30, 9:00, 10:15
OC 3:50, 6:35

Cinemark Cedar Park

1335 E. Whitestone, Cedar Park, 800/326-3264

Call theatre for complete list of movies and showtimes.

Sun., Sept. 15

digital 11:00am, 1:45, 4:30, 7:15, 7:50, 10:00

Mon., Sept. 16

digital 11:30am, 2:15, 5:00, 7:45, 10:30

Tue., Sept. 17

digital 11:00am, 1:45, 4:30, 7:15, 10:00

Wed., Sept. 18

digital 11:30am, 2:15, 5:00, 7:45, 10:30

Thu., Sept. 19

digital 11:30am, 2:15, 5:00, 7:45, 10:30

Sun., Sept. 15

digital 10:45am, 1:30, 4:15, 7:00, 9:45

Mon., Sept. 16

digital 10:45am, 1:30, 4:15, 7:00, 9:45

Tue., Sept. 17

digital 10:45am, 1:30, 4:15, 7:00, 9:45

Wed., Sept. 18

digital 10:45am, 1:30, 4:15, 7:00, 9:45

Cinemark Round Rock

4401 N. I-35, Round Rock, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium. Call theatre for complete March 26-28 showtimes.

Sun., Sept. 15

digital 11:10am, 12:35, 2:00, 3:25, 4:50, 6:20, 7:40, 8:20, 9:05, 10:30

Mon., Sept. 16

digital 12:35, 2:00, 3:25, 4:50, 6:20, 7:40, 9:05, 10:30

Tue., Sept. 17

digital 12:35, 2:00, 3:25, 4:50, 6:20, 7:40, 9:05, 10:30

Wed., Sept. 18

digital 11:10am, 12:35, 2:00, 3:25, 4:50, 6:20, 7:40, 9:05, 10:30

Cinemark Southpark Meadows

9900 S. I-35, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Sun., Sept. 15

digital 10:35am, 11:35am, 1:15, 2:20, 4:00, 5:10, 6:45, 7:45, 9:45, 10:20

Mon., Sept. 16

digital 10:35am, 11:35am, 1:15, 2:20, 4:00, 5:05, 6:45, 7:45, 9:45, 10:20

Tue., Sept. 17

digital 10:35am, 11:35am, 1:15, 2:20, 4:00, 5:05, 6:45, 7:45, 9:45, 10:20

Wed., Sept. 18

digital 10:35am, 11:35am, 1:15, 2:20, 4:00, 5:05, 6:45, 7:45, 9:45, 10:20

Cinemark Stone Hill Town Center

18820 Hilltop Commercial Dr., 512/251-0938, www.cinemark.com

Sun., Sept. 15

digital 11:30am, 2:10, 4:50, 7:30, 10:00

City Lights Theatre

420 Wolf Ranch Parkway, Georgetown, 512/868-9922

Sun., Sept. 15

1:30, 4:30, 7:30, 10:20

Mon., Sept. 16

1:30, 4:30, 7:30, 10:20

Tue., Sept. 17

1:30, 4:30, 7:30, 10:20

Wed., Sept. 18

1:30, 4:30, 7:30, 10:20

EVO Entertainment

3200 Kyle Crossing, Kyle, 512/523-9009, www.evo-entertainment.com

Sun., Sept. 15

11:15am, 2:00, 4:40, 5:40, 7:15, 8:15, 9:50, 10:45

Mon., Sept. 16

11:15am, 2:00, 4:40, 5:40, 7:15, 8:15, 9:00, 9:50, 10:30, 10:45

Tue., Sept. 17

11:15am, 2:00, 4:40, 5:40, 7:15, 8:15, 9:50, 10:45

Wed., Sept. 18

11:15am, 2:00, 4:40, 5:40, 7:15, 8:15, 9:50, 10:45

Flix Brewhouse

2200 S. I-35, Round Rock, 512/244-3549, www.flixbrewhouse.com/round-rock

Sun., Sept. 15

11:30am, 12:30, 2:30, 4:40, 7:15, 8:15, 9:30

Mon., Sept. 16

12:30, 2:40, 4:30, 6:30, 9:30

Tue., Sept. 17

12:30, 2:40, 4:30, 6:30, 9:30

Wed., Sept. 18

12:30, 2:40, 4:30, 7:15, 8:15, 9:30

Thu., Sept. 19

12:00, 1:30, 3:30, 4:30, 6:30, 9:40

Galaxy Highland 10

6700 Middle Fiskville, 512/467-7305, www.galaxytheatres.com

No one under 18 will be allowed in the theatre on Friday or Saturday after 7pm without an adult.

Sun., Sept. 15

CC 10:00am, 1:00, 1:30, 4:00, 4:30, 7:00, 7:30, 10:00, 10:30

Mon., Sept. 16

CC 10:00am, 1:00, 1:30, 4:00, 4:30, 7:00, 7:30, 10:00, 10:30

Tue., Sept. 17

CC 10:00am, 1:00, 1:30, 4:00, 4:30, 7:00, 7:30, 10:00, 10:30

Wed., Sept. 18

CC 10:00am, 1:00, 1:30, 4:00, 4:15, 7:00, 10:00

Thu., Sept. 19

CC 10:00am, 1:00, 1:30, 4:00, 7:00, 10:00

Gateway Theatre

9700 Stonelake, 512/416-5700

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Sun., Sept. 15

CC/DVS 12:00, 1:00, 2:35, 3:50, 5:15, 7:00, 7:30, 9:50, 10:20

Mon., Sept. 16

CC/DVS 1:00, 3:50, 7:00, 9:50

Tue., Sept. 17

CC/DVS 1:00, 3:50, 7:00, 9:50

Wed., Sept. 18

CC/DVS 1:00, 3:50, 7:00, 9:50

Thu., Sept. 19

CC/DVS 1:00, 3:50, 7:00, 9:50

iPic Theaters Austin

3225 Amy Donovan Plaza, 512/568-3400, www.ipic.com

Sun., Sept. 15

12:30, 1:00, 3:45, 4:15, 6:45, 7:30, 9:45, 10:30

Mon., Sept. 16

12:30, 1:00, 3:45, 4:15, 6:45, 7:30, 9:45, 10:30

Tue., Sept. 17

12:30, 1:00, 3:45, 4:15, 6:45, 7:30, 9:45, 10:30

Wed., Sept. 18

12:30, 1:00, 3:45, 4:15, 6:45, 7:30, 9:45, 10:30

Thu., Sept. 19

1:00, 4:15, 7:30, 10:45

AMC Lakeline 9

11200 Lakeline Mall Dr., Cedar Park, 512/335-4793

Discounts daily before 6pm.

Sun., Sept. 15

CC/DVS 2:30, 5:00, 7:30

Mon., Sept. 16

CC/DVS 2:30, 5:00, 7:30

Tue., Sept. 17

CC/DVS 2:30, 5:00, 7:30

Wed., Sept. 18

CC/DVS 2:30, 5:00, 7:30

Metropolitan

901 Little Texas, 512/447-0101

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Sun., Sept. 15

CC/DVS 11:50am, 1:10, 2:10, 4:00, 5:00, 6:50, 7:50, 9:40, 10:40

Mon., Sept. 16

CC/DVS 11:50am, 2:10, 5:00, 7:50, 10:40

Tue., Sept. 17

CC/DVS 11:50am, 2:10, 5:00, 7:50, 10:40

Wed., Sept. 18

CC/DVS 11:50am, 2:10, 5:00, 7:50, 10:40

Thu., Sept. 19

CC/DVS 11:50am, 2:10, 5:00, 7:50, 10:40

Moviehouse & Eatery

8300 N. FM 620, Bldg. B, 512/501-3520, www.themoviehouse.com/trails/

Sun., Sept. 15

10:00am, 10:30am, 12:30, 1:00, 3:30, 4:30, 6:30, 7:00, 7:30, 9:30, 10:30, 11:00

Mon., Sept. 16

10:30am, 12:00, 12:30, 1:30, 3:00, 4:30, 6:30, 7:30, 8:00, 9:30, 10:30

Tue., Sept. 17

10:30am, 12:00, 12:30, 1:30, 3:00, 4:30, 6:30, 7:30, 8:00, 9:30, 10:30

Wed., Sept. 18

10:30am, 12:00, 12:30, 1:30, 3:00, 4:30, 6:30, 7:30, 8:00, 9:30, 10:30

Thu., Sept. 19

10:30am, 12:00, 12:30, 1:30, 3:00, 4:30, 6:30, 8:00, 9:30, 10:45

Moviehouse & Eatery - Lantana Place

7415 Southwest Parkway, Building 7, 512/572-0770, www.themoviehouse.com/lantana/

Sun., Sept. 15

10:30am, 12:30, 1:25, 3:30, 4:30, 6:30, 7:30, 9:30, 10:30

Mon., Sept. 16

10:30am, 12:30, 1:25, 3:30, 4:30, 6:30, 7:30, 9:30, 10:30

Tue., Sept. 17

10:30am, 12:30, 1:25, 3:30, 4:30, 6:30, 7:30, 9:30, 10:30

Wed., Sept. 18

10:30am, 12:30, 1:25, 3:30, 4:30, 6:30, 7:30, 9:30, 10:30

Thu., Sept. 19

10:00am, 12:30, 1:00, 3:30, 4:00, 6:30, 9:30

Schulman Theatres Lost Pines 8

1600 Chestnut St, Bastrop, 512/321-0123, www.schulmantheatres.com

Sun., Sept. 15

10:30am, 1:25, 4:20, 7:15, 10:10

Mon., Sept. 16

10:30am, 1:25, 4:20, 7:15, 10:10

Tue., Sept. 17

10:30am, 1:25, 4:20, 7:15, 10:10

Wed., Sept. 18

10:30am, 1:25, 4:20, 7:15, 10:10

ShowBiz Cinemas 8 Marble Falls

2600 Hwy 281 North, Marble Falls

Call theatre for August 22-23 showtimes.

Sun., Sept. 15

10:45am, 1:20, 4:00, 7:20

Mon., Sept. 16

1:25, 4:00, 7:20

Tue., Sept. 17

1:25, 4:00, 7:20

Wed., Sept. 18

1:25, 4:00, 7:20

Thu., Sept. 19

1:15, 3:40

Sky Cinemas

13201 US-290, 512/457-0700, www.skycinemas.com

Sun., Sept. 15

11:10am, 1:45, 4:20, 7:00, 9:40

Mon., Sept. 16

11:25am, 2:00, 4:35, 7:10, 9:45

Tue., Sept. 17

11:25am, 2:00, 4:35, 7:10, 9:45

Wed., Sept. 18

11:15am, 1:50, 4:25, 7:10, 9:45

Sun., Sept. 15

11:00am, 1:45, 4:30, 7:15, 10:00

Mon., Sept. 16

11:00am, 1:45, 4:30, 7:15, 10:00

Tue., Sept. 17

11:00am, 1:45, 4:30, 7:15, 10:00

Wed., Sept. 18

11:00am, 1:45, 4:30, 7:15, 11:15

Starplex 12 San Marcos

1250 Wonder World Drive, San Marcos, 512/805-8000

Sun., Sept. 15

11:30am, 2:15, 5:00, 7:45, 10:30

Mon., Sept. 16

12:00, 2:35, 5:15, 8:00, 10:45

Tue., Sept. 17

12:00, 2:35, 5:15, 8:00, 10:45

Wed., Sept. 18

12:00, 2:35, 5:15, 8:00, 10:45

Westgate 11

4477 S. Lamar, 512/899-2717

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Sun., Sept. 15

CC/DVS 11:30am, 2:10, 4:45, 6:30, 7:20, 9:55, 10:25

Mon., Sept. 16

CC/DVS 11:30am, 2:05, 4:40, 7:10, 9:45

Tue., Sept. 17

CC/DVS 11:30am, 2:05, 4:40, 7:10, 9:45

Wed., Sept. 18

CC/DVS 11:30am, 2:05, 4:40, 7:15, 9:50

Thu., Sept. 19

CC/DVS 11:15am, 1:50, 4:40, 6:50, 10:00

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Hustlers, Lorene Scafaria, Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Stiles, Madeline Brewer, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, Cardi B, Lizzo

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