American Hustle

Movie review by S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
American Hustle Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 16+

Mesmerizing mature drama with just a bit of sex, violence.

R 2013 138 minutes

Parents say

age 15+

Based on 15 reviews

Kids say

age 14+

Based on 26 reviews

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Community Reviews

age 16+

I Question the Assertion of Positive Messages

American Hustle is a big budget major release film and benefits from some of the biggest stars around including Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradly Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Robert De Niro, and Jennifer Lawrence. While I personally enjoyed the film I take issue with Common Sense's suggestion that it contains positive messages. These characters are con artists, criminals, crooked politicians, and dirty federal agents. The plot is fun with its twists and turns, but at least for me, the victories or failures of characters failed to have the emotional impact they could have. I didn't really care what happened to any of them, including actors I love in other things, being a huge fan of Bradly Cooper, Christian Bale, and Jennifer Lawrence. The infidelity is also a problem I feel Common Sense did not adequately address. I'm not opposed to infidelity as a story element but I don't feel this movie did a good enough job of showing it as immoral. In conclusion, I enjoy the film, which is well acted, directed, and written. However, I don't come away from it feeling very positive about the state of humanity. Early in the film Irving says "That's not the way the world works. Not black and white, a whole lot of gray." This movie definitely chooses to focus on the gray, which makes for interesting story but conflicts clear positive messages.
1 person found this helpful.
age 16+

Solid work by all the characters...well done.

Sucks you in with some twists and turns and meanders like good films can. Considering this film is mostly based off of improv the meandering makes sense in such a character driven film. The cultural context is atmospherical and you must place close attention to the dialogue. The costumes sweep you up in late 70s/early 80s decadence that will lead to yuppie land. Lawrence grounds a role that is too common caricatured and Adams steals almost every scene. But that is not to say that Cooper and Bale are slacking, far from it...and DeNiro well...picture perfect...per usual.

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