Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu star in Lorene Scarafia’s film "Hustlers"

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Warning: this review contains spoilers.

The recession was hard on everybody. These women took it upon themselves to make sure it was not hard on them.

"Hustlers" is not what it appears to be at first glance. What starts as what seems to be a movie about strip clubs turns into a heist thriller where you can see the pyramid collapsing from within. And yet, in the end, you still find a way to appreciate, if not love, the main characters.

Dorothy (Constance Wu) is a girl who goes into stripping to support her grandmother. While she is at the club, she befriends Ramona, played by Jennifer Lopez, who takes Dorothy under her wing.

Things were going great at the club until the great recession hit. Dorothy, Ramona and two other characters decide to take matters into their own hands and make more money through scams. Although they were making money, the scams weren’t sustainable, and everything came crashing down in the climax of the movie.

Dorothy is the narrator and the supposed through-line of the story. However, the story is really propelled when it is Ramona doing the heavy lifting. Ramona’s story is relatable, a hustler whose hustle was taken away, having to resort to a dirtier hustle that becomes more lucrative. It doesn’t hurt that Ramona is so charismatic in every scene of this movie, being the cool hand that guides the creaky ship.

It was remarkable to me that Lopez was able to feel maternal in some parts of the movie, while in others acting as the honcho in the heist movies. It is a very difficult tightrope to maintain, but Lopez is so agile as an actor in this film that she makes the tightrope seem like a sidewalk.

There was a huge component of the movie that involved drugging victims of the crimes. It made me uncomfortable to see the characters taking advantage of their victims. I found it interesting and upsetting to see Dorothy and Ramona try to justify it in their own way.

When Ramona eventually breaks, like all movie characters of her ilk must, it is not before the audience is rooting for her to succeed. The mark of a good movie is when the audience is wishing success for people that have questionable morals, and this movie does that. Jennifer Lopez is going to be nominated for this movie, and she deserves it because she dominated this movie.

I know I mostly talked about Lopez, but Constance Wu did a fine job in the movie, and it was remarkably produced. It was one of the best movies I have seen this year, and you should see it, too.

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