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Hustlers Jennifer Lopez Final Line
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In the pantheon of iconic final film lines, the comedy genre isn’t always known for its gut punch finishers. But then again, Hustlers isn’t exactly a comedy. It’s not a drama either, though. From the outset, it’s not easy to put Hustlers into a box. The film is nothing you might expect from the early marketing materials that advertised a neon-colored film about strippers who scam Wall Street douchebags. But, from the beginning to its powerful final lines spoken by Jennifer Lopez’s character, Hustlers makes a strong statement about capitalism and the state of the American Dream.
The film is rooted in the relationship between an upcoming stripper named Charity (Constance Wu) and her veteran mentor, Ramona (Jennifer Lopez). After the 2008 economic crash, the two come together with an elaborate plan hatched by Ramona: drug wealthy Wall Street crooks and charge massive balances on their credit cards. Ramona and her team go out to bars where they find their wealthy, sleazy targets. They drug the mark and take him to their own club, where they run up the guy’s corporate card and split the expenditures with the owner of the establishment. The catch? The men won’t do anything about it—more inclined to take a financial hit than come clean to their wives and colleagues about being duped by a crew of wily women.
Jennifer Lopez has already generated Oscar buzz for her role as Ramona, a veteran stripper who takes Charity (Constance Wu) under her wing.
Alison Cohen Rosa/STX
As the New York Magazine story reveals, the women are eventually caught. The fantasy could only go on for so long. But in her final scene, Ramona looks just past the camera and explains the situation, likening the world at large to their own situation. “It’s all a strip club,” Ramona says. “You have people tossing the money and people doing the dance.”
The story within Hustlers is solid as is, with fully fleshed out characters that make you question whether or not you support someone drugging a “bad guy” to better themselves. But that final line takes it from a hilarious Robin Hood-type conundrum to a complex reflection on American society. This is a country where the American Dream—to pull yourself up by the bootstraps, earn a living, and become successful from sheer work ethic and ingenuity—doesn’t exist. The people throwing the money will always be throwing the money. Everyone else is just doing the dance.
That’s what makes that final line so powerful because the truth in it is so palpable. When you hear it, you immediately know who you’re dancing for (unless you are the one with the money, in which case, how nice). The women in this film briefly subvert the sleazy one percenters. They beat these men who used crooked banking to orchestrate the recession at their own game. For a moment, Jennifer Lopez and her crew are the ones tossing the money and the men, consciously or not, are dancing.
And this commentary exists constantly in the background of Hustlers up until this final line, where Lopez’s character puts it all into perspective. You’re left with those words and the question: Should these dancers be punished for drugging a bunch of sleazy (and certainly not innocent) men and taking their money? Was what they did wrong? Were they just doing the same thing all those bankers did that led us into the recession? You’ll have to answer that question on your own. But, it certainly is fun as hell to watch these women get some revenge and take charge in changing their circumstances.
Justin Kirkland is a writer for Esquire, where he focuses on entertainment, television, and pop culture.