“Hustlers” Highlights Female Friendship and Empowerment

Gabrielle Lenger

This has been a strong year for female directors in Hollywood. Movies released earlier this year like “Booksmart”, “Late Night”, and “The Kitchen” have prepared audiences for this ultimate female powerhouse film. Lorene Scafaria takes the torch from these outstanding directors and shines the light on a cast of talented and diverse women. A new era is coming for women in Hollywood. Women are now traveling in packs, and they are ready to be funny, sexy, and anything they want to be.
“Hustlers” begins with Dorothy (Constance Wu) sitting in her living room with a reporter. She begins her story as a stripper struggling to make ends meet until she meets her mentor Romona (Jennifer Lopez). Romona takes Dorothy under her wing (or should I say under her fur coat) and gives her a crash course on the vulnerability of Wall Street men. The two fiercely independent women develop a friendship while sharing clients and earning a steady stream of cash.
After the 2008 recession hits, the New York club scene turns into a ghost town. The few men in the club have become increasingly disrespectful towards the dancers. Romona rounds up two more protégés (Keke Palmer and Lili Reinhart), and together they hatch a plan to make serious money with less dancing and more drugs. Ring leader Romana justifies their actions by targeting the CEOs, bankers, and hedge-funders responsible for the devastated economy. 
This film portrays female friendship as the foundation of survival, which from my experience, is true. While I have not been in any legal trouble recently, I would trust my best friends to bail me out of any crisis. “Hustlers” answers the question: is it possible to be independent in an unreliable world? And if that is possible, can we be truly independent and still fear being alone?
Friendship is an incredible force, and the one between J-Lo’s and Wu’s characters is stronger than any plot line thrown in to shake them up. There was no large romantic plot in this movie, thank goodness. There was one jealous boyfriend dropping off his stripper girlfriend for a shift at the club, which was incredibly comical. The girls were way too busy for any relationship nonsense that did not involve each other. 
The bond between Dorothy and Romona is pure. Dorothy was lost and looking for guidance. We’ve all been there, wandering the halls of a new school, praying that one of the upperclassmen will take a liking to us and give advice on which classes to take and which extracurriculars to join.
Like a recent college graduate, Romona was ready to give her advice. She started off as a mother figure to Dorothy, until their little family grew. Romona and Dorothy became the parents of struggling girls looking for security. They became a family. 
This film was not only visually appealing, but also beautifully feministic. Women of every shape and size was featured on screen including Lizzo and Trace Lysette. They’re also not the only cameos in this film. Cardi B., Julia Stiles and even an appearance from Usher, (Usher is obviously not a woman, but his only line replayed in my head throughout the entire movie). This incredibly diverse cast brings a new light to an entire group of people whose job it is to stay hidden in dark clubs.