A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
This is a cautionary tale about unexpected predators and the slippery slope of compromising your ethics.
Positive Role Models
The characters are a diverse group -- in terms of race, body type, sexual identity, and more -- but strippers aren't typically role models/aspirational figures.
Violence & Scariness
An unconscious, bleeding man is injured off-camera and comically gets re-injured. A couple argues in front of their toddler. Male targets/victims are drugged.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Frequent partial nudity including bare breasts and barely covered backsides. Extensive visual modeling of "sexy" behavior, including teaching techniques for pole and lap dancing. Women dance sensually, sometimes undressing each other as they perform for men. A scene shows how a character decides to engage in a sex act for money and feels degraded afterward. Sex toy shown on-screen. Women use their sexuality as bait. Full-frontal male nudity used for humor. References to prostitution.
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Frequent strong language includes "bitch," "c--k," "f--k," "goddamn," "p---y," "d--k," "t--ties," "ass," and "s--t." Crass sexual language. The "N" word.
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Products & Purchases
Money is literally thrown in the air (sometimes by celebrities) and women are showered in it. Materialism is promoted, with characters buying fur coats, fancy cars (Cadillac Escalade is treated as the ideal luxury vehicle), and designer clothes (Gucci, Christian Laboutin, Bebe, Juicy) with their ill-gotten money.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Repeated demonstrations of how to drug a target, as well as cooking methods to create the drugs used. Cocaine use and alcohol are shown as pathways to a good time -- but also as things that cloud good judgment. Champagne flows to celebrate, and wine is sipped to secure friendships. Cigarette smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that greed is portrayed as good in Hustlers, which mixes themes of female empowerment and friendship with criminal, unethical behavior. It feels like the other side of The Wolf of Wall Street, focusing on New York strippers who manipulated and conned their stockbroker clients to the point of outright stealing. Thanks to the presence of aspirational celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Cardi B, Lizzo, and Keke Palmer, stripping comes across as the key to a glamorous life, in which women can get rich quick by using their sexuality as a weapon. Most of the men they scam are shown as sleazy, leering, gross, and corrupt, which suggests justification for the women's behavior. Yes, it's lots of fun and features a notably diverse cast, but it's also very mature: Expect drug and alcohol use/abuse, strong language ("f--k," "s--t," etc.), and sexual content -- including nudity, pole/lap dancing, prostitution, and more. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Chris Rock famously said that "a father has one job: to keep their daughter off the pole"; this movie could make that job a lot tougher. Lopez may do more in Hustlers to make stripping look appealing than Howard Stern did with porn actresses. Every move she makes is charged with self-confidence, sexual empowerment, and superior awesomeness -- and that's problematic for teens. She may be "Ramona," but she's also Jenny from the Block, and when she writhes on stage, showered and rolling in dollar bills, stripping becomes -- as Wu's Destiny describes it -- "glamorous and cool."
It may be that director Lorene Scafaria is too good at her job, creating enviable fun and feminist justice out of criminal acts. She knows how to push our buttons when it comes to craving female friendships, a feeling that's intensified by the inclusion of popular music personalities (like lovable Lizzo and outspoken Cardi B, who's confessed to participating in a similar scam when she worked as a stripper). The friendships between the women and their stage "mom" (it's been too long, Mercedes Ruehl!) in the club's back room are as warm as Ramona's fur coat, and the sisterhood they form seems more emotionally satisfying than any sorority. As an audience member, you know that the female empowerment isn't exactly on the level, and yet it demonstrates something many of us long for: a large group of friends who are affectionate, supportive, and judgment-free. But most of the women are also ethics-free, and as their activities dive deeper into behavior that's immoral and illegal, they find justifications that will hold water with some of those watching. Hustlers may be the #MeToo generation's Fatal Attraction: a cautionary tale that corruption has consequences -- just not for the women.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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