Jennifer Lopez’s introduction in Hustlers was one of the great moments in cinema last year, musical or otherwise. And I promise I say that as a movie fan, not a guy who enjoys watching Lopez work the pole.
By framing this moment through the eyes of Constance Wu’s character, writer/director Lorene Scafaria makes Lopez’s dance not about her sexuality but her power. She is not a sex object… she’s the subject, specifically subjecting her will on the helpless men in the audience. She commands the stage, separating men from their money just as she will later in the movie through more nefarious methods. It’s appropriate that her song of choice is titled ‘Criminal.’