Hayley Miller

A non-industry perspective on everything about the industry

The trailers for Hustlers did not thrill me. It looked like the right end of the summer movie. Something female-led, something a little sexy, something with a bit of intrigue. They’d jam packed a few major celebrities into it who aren’t actors, like Cardi B and Lizzo. I figured it would get back reviews, I’d save my money and we’d forget about it a few weeks later.

To everyone involved in making that movie, I apologize. I underestimated you. You hustled me? Doesn’t really work but you get the idea. How could I do that to JLo?

I saw the reviews begin to trickle in and was shocked as the Rotten Tomato meter didn’t fall — it kept getting better. JLo was getting some (far too early) Oscar buzz. I texted my boyfriend and said “I want to see Hustlers.”

He wrote back, “Okay, maybe we can go next week.”

I said hell no I’m not going to this sexy women movie with you, I’m taking a girl friend. I said that in other words, but that was essentially the gist of it.

So a few days ago, my girl friend and I paid a ridiculous $16 per ticket to watch JLo kick ass and take fake shots on screen.

Does everyone remember that Constance Wu drama from a few months ago? Where she was upset about Fresh Off the Boat being renewed? And she was apparently upset because it meant she had to turn down a role she was really passionate about?

Thank goodness it wasn’t this one.

Because there is one scene that made my girl friend and I basically gasp. We were shook, and I don’t use that word lightly. The sound mixing / sound editing (who knows the difference, why are these two different Oscar awards?) in the film was really unique and a-typical, and nowhere was a better example than this scene.

We discussed it afterwards using the exact same words. Same sentence at the same time. I don’t remember the sentence, but I promise it was one of high praise.

It really is cool too, as a Gen-Z, to see people you associated with not-awarding-winning television shine on the big screen. I’m talking about Keke Palmer (True Jackson, VP anyone?) and Lili Reinhart (Riverdale), specifically. I don’t know what it’s like to play someone who constantly vomits involuntarily and wears a lot of side ponytails, but Ms. Reinhart pulls it off.

I tend to love movies based on real life stories. And the story here is pretty shocking and disturbing. I wish I knew slightly more heading into the screening than I did, but it certainly inspired me to look it up, to compare the differences.

It’s also just lovely to see such a diverse group of women on screen, facing the same struggles, the same life realities we all do. That’s, unfortunately, still rare.

In that sense, the movie leans sympathetic towards the perpetrators. What would you do for your kids? What if you were raised motherless? Wouldn’t you probably push your morals a bit if it seemed like the only feasible way to provide for your little boy or girl? We can all resonate with that.

Hustling wasn’t about the thrill of getting away with it, or the fur coats, or the cash. It was the “sisters.” It was family. At the end of the day, most of us would hustle for that.

But pshtttt what do I know. I’m 22. All I know is I’m signing up for a pole dancing lesson asap because I need my abs to do some of those tricks. They were so damn cool. JLo is 50 years old. Go see Hustlers, even if it’s just for that. That’s all I have to say.

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