Movie Review: Hustlers

The movie “Hustlers” is one of the very few movies since “The Big Short” that is about the 2008 financial crisis that almost drove the entire world into a Great Depression worse than the one in 1929. Anyone interested in learning about what happened in 2008 should see the Big Short – which is a great movie, definitely not this film.

The easy money that was made during the DOT COM bubble that peaked in March 2000 indirectly caused the real estate bubble that started in September 2007. Corporations and individuals who lost fortunes in 2000 were looking to get it all back, starting in 2003 and as a result, financial restrictions were lifted and criminals were allowed to ruin the economies of the world due to their greed. The more easy money that was made, the stupider people became, thinking that the party would never end. Not only did it all end, were it not for the bailouts that started in 2008 the financial health of the world might have ended forever. The long term effects of the damage the 2008 financial crisis have been ongoing for millions of people around the world ever since. Due to the National Debt of the United States, now 22 trillion, largely due to the bailouts, the world might never fully recover from the repercussions of what happened in 2008.

Hustlers is a true story about a group of strippers who work at a strip club frequented by Wall Street employees who in the year 2007, like most of the world, were doing fantastically well within a fake economy driven by the insanity of the real estate bubble. Once the bubble burst, the easy money stopped for everyone, including all of the women who work at this strip club. The lead stripper is Ramona played by Jennifer Lopez, who eventually leads the group of women astray. For Lopez, this is one of her few serious roles in many years and while her performance is good in this film, nothing about this movie deserves the very high 87% on Rotten Tomatoes. More in line, due to the story and the acting is the 5.8 rating on IMDB.

After the easy money ended, a group of strippers, lead by Ramona decided to trick and then drug men. Once they were unconscious, they stole their credit cards to steal cash advances. Given that this is a true story, I was surprised at the number of men who fell victim to this, despite the blackmail and embarrassment involved. I thought the story did a good job showing the desperation of these women who needed money so badly, that they rationalized a crime like this, thinking that, “these are the men who stole money from so many people, so we can steal from them”. This movie also does a good job showing the horrendous life of most of these strippers who degrade themselves in clubs like this only to have so much of their money stolen from them by criminal club owners.

The Rotten Tomatoes rating for Hustlers is a very high 87%, but my rating is only 70%. Once again, there was way too much chain smoking in this movie, mostly with Lopez’s character – another thing I did not like about this film. I give Hustlers only a very mild recommendation, mainly because it is a true story that happened as a result of the 2008 financial crisis.

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