Pros: the article that formed the basis of the script; chronology of the story; performances by actresses Cons: neon-glamorous shots that distance the film from the real story of “Wall Street Fraud” / Hustlers
Genre Comedy, Crime Drama
Directed by Loreen Scafaria
Cast: Constance Wu (Destiny), Jennifer Lopez (Ramona), Cardi B (Diamond), Keke Palmer (Mercedes), Julia Stiles (Elizabeth), Lili Reinhart (Annabelle), Lizzo (Liz), Mercedes Ruehl (Mom), Usher (plays himself), etc.
Annapurna Pictures, Gloria Sanchez Productions, STX Films
Year of release 2019
The film’s script is based on an article by journalist Jessica Pressler, which was published by New York Magazine in 2015 (the material can now be read on the Cut portal). Pressler wrote an interesting longread about former strip club workers who developed an entire deception scheme applicable to wealthy men. The actions of these women were reminiscent of the story of Robin Hood, however, with one amendment – they robbed moneybags, giving what they got not to the people, but to themselves. The scammers considered themselves victims of the 2008 financial crisis and were motivated by the belief that corporate representatives deserved such punishment.
The film introduces us to the main character named Destiny (Constance Wu). She took a job at a strip bar to pay the bills and provide for her grandmother. As a newbie, Destiny is a little overwhelmed, so she finds a mentor, Ramona (Jennifer Lopez), who understands how the entertainment industry works and is good at recognizing clients’ weaknesses. Having become a team, they make a big income, but Destiny starts a family and quits her job. Several years later, the heroine experiences financial problems and returns to business, which has changed for the worse as a result of bank bankruptcy. Destiny turns to Ramona again, and together they devise a cynical plan to “process” highly paid Wall Street executives.
It is interesting that they have already tried to show the banking crisis in the United States in the films “The Big Short”, “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” and “The Company Men”. ). Naturally, the main events there took place within the walls of corporate offices.
Against the background of these films, “Women of Wall Street” stand out as a bright contrast. The film offers to plunge into a completely different atmosphere and, as it seems at first glance, to see New York clubs from a different side. Using the example of the main character, viewers are shown the backstage of entertainment establishments, which may not always be pleasant. However, the filmmakers do not concentrate on this for long, preferring to devote most of their time to the beauty and glitz of the nightlife.
For this, choreographers are preparing several spectacular appearances by Jennifer Lopez – who knows, but she knows how to impress. Scenes with her and other actresses dancing in strip bars are reminiscent of videos of modern rappers (to confirm this, singer Usher even appears in one episode, expertly throwing away bills). It is no coincidence that hip-hop artist Cardi B plays another minor role – she danced in nightclubs even before the start of her musical career.
All this is good, but director Loreen Scafaria quite often focuses on the neon-glamorous picture and completely forgets that what is on the screen is actually a film, and not a video sequence for a video clip. Because of this, the picture completely loses its realism, but thanks to the chronology of the story, we remember from time to time that some of this did happen in real life.
The fact is that in the film the creators prudently use an old and long-proven cinematography technique. They show the main character Destiny’s conversation with a journalist, so everything that happens is the character’s memories. By the way, the general events and key details included in the New York Magazine publication can be clearly recognized in the film – this is definitely a good job of the screenwriters. True, you can evaluate it only if you really want to read the entire article.
The actresses who played the leading roles also did a good job. The character of Destiny is hardly recognizable as Constance Wu, who became famous in the film Crazy Rich Asians. And Jennifer Lopez, as is quite expected, feels more than confident on the set. The problem remains that the mood of the film makes it difficult to take their characters seriously, no matter how hard they try.
“Women of Wall Street” is filled with scenes of the good life that are reminiscent of half-melodrama and half-comedy films from the early 2000s. In combination with the atmosphere of strip clubs, this may look enchanting, but such inserts completely displace the seriousness of certain moments. And this gives the film a big minus.
The film colorfully shows the life of American clubs and uses their example to demonstrate an invented fraudulent scheme. In some places, the shooting style is reminiscent of music videos