HUB Movie Review: American Hustle

Story posted April 9, 2014 in CommRadio by Sofia Westin

Everyday I’m hustlin’!

This powerhouse of a movie is loosely based on the Abscam scandal that rocked the United States in the late 70s and early 80s. When I say loosely based, I mean it is basically the same story just tweaked in terms of names and places, some historical points and smothered with comedy.

So what happens is a kind of crazy FBI agent (Bradley Cooper) strikes a deal with two con artists (Christian Bale and Amy Adams) to help him take down political corruption by attacking congressmen and a governor (Jeremy Renner), so that he may have his moment of glory. In return, the con artists do not go to jail. But what may ultimately ruin his plan is the con artist’s wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence), who has a tendency to talk her mouth off for attention.

As the whole plan is developed and put into action, problems naturally arise but as do feelings of regret, when good people, who wish to bring about change, end up on the wrong end of the stick.

Though hustling includes breaking the law (duh), which is quite a serious matter, humor is finely intertwined into the plot to keep the story light, which balances with the more serious scenes. Rosalyn will definitely get you to laugh the most, just as she gain most of your pity.

All the actors have gone though wonderful transformations, physically and mentally, to become their complicated characters in a time when curlers was a big thing. 

The critics just raved about this movie. On IMDb, audiences began with an 8.2 rating, but now it is down to 7.5. Metacritic gave it 90 and RottenTomatoes’s top critics gave it 96. It received 10 Oscar nominations, including all four acting categories, Best Original Screenplay, Best Director and Best Picture, amongst others. It won none of them. 

On the Penn State Scale...
1—when Penn State loses a game,
2—an 8 a.m class (which are awful),
3—a canceled 8 a.m class,
4— free textbooks,
and 5—free Creamery ice cream for a whole year,

Hustle gets a 3.5. It has a good story, hilarity and amazing characters, especially Lawrence who steals the show. However, when I was watching it, I found myself asking what is the purpose of this movie? Because Bale’s and Adam’s characters narrate the story, it is as if they are telling their life story.

I appreciate them telling me, but in the end it did not seem all that important. It is just like Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas. I was not enlightened by it; I didn’t find myself attached to it emotionally. American Hustle, like Goodfellas, goes through what happens, and that is that.

But the others things I mentioned first are what make the story better. The characters drive the plot which may lack in certain aspects in terms of importance. They help make it enjoyable to the point where I would watch it again just for the sake of seeing their great acting.

*This movie will show on Thursday at 10 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. The Wolf of Wall Street will be showing Friday and Saturday at 11 p.m.

Sofia Westin is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email