This was a very fun movie! Not unexpectedly so, because heist movies are always fun, it’s the thrill of it and the intelligence and bravery to pull those things off is very appealing. It’s escapist and for once it’s a cast full of entertainment’s most influential women coming together in to this movie is wonderful to see. Now this wasn’t the first movie to do so, Set It Off (1996) was a movie revolving around four black women robbing banks starring Queen Latifa, Jada Pinkett, Vivica A. Fox and Kimberly Elise. I haven’t seen any of the other Ocean films, just to clarify it here.
Debbie Ocean is released from prison after five years. She recruits six women; Lou Miller who is her number two, Amita a jewellery maker, Rose Weil the fashioned designer, Tammy the fence, Constance the pickpocket and Nine Ball the hacker. Together these women plan to heist The Met Gala and the expensive Cartier Toussaint necklace that will grace the actress Daphne Kluger’s neck.
The casting for this movie is perfect and the movie capitalises on the images and the characters of the women in real life to amplify their on screen characters. Its hard not to separate the two, but the film doesn’t want you to do so, it makes you embrace what you have heard of the women and what little you might know about them.
Sandra Bullock as Debbie Ocean is the driving force who brings these women together. Her no nonsense attitude as well as her honesty in what they would gain helps to convince these women to be by her side. Cate Blanchett as Lou Miller is cool and elusive in her own sophisticated way and she is badass. Anne Hathaway as Daphne Kluger picks fun at the fact that Anne Hathaway the persona is easy to hate and the superficiality of famous people in general.
Mindy Kaling as Amita is wonderfully herself, dresses and all. Sarah Paulson as Tammy does wonders as a suburban mother who has this strength, intelligence and vulnerability in to mothering the team as well. Awkwafina as Cosntance is wonderfully like her authentic self bursting with energy and her silent comic acting is as good as it was big in Crazy Rich Asians (2018). Rihanna as Nine Ball is downplaying her own stardom to great effect as a hacker and her comic acting is both funny in how deadpan it is and the way she seeps in to the role so different from the persona of Rihanna we as audience know who has graced The Met Gala with her show stopping fashions for many years, in a way its a little meta to have her try to heist it. Helena Bonham Carter as Rose Weil pulls off a good Irish accent, filtering with nervous energy she has the most to loose in this case and it shows.
I am sad about the lukewarm response by the critics to this movie. Yes, it might not be technologically or story wise groundbreaking, but as a woman seeing this amount of woman onscreen working together is something that I felt like I didn’t know I wanted until I saw it. And because they are women they can have this aura of invisibility because of the jobs they are shown to do in this movie from assistants at Vogue to the only female waitress who have access to places men do not have.
All the women’s chemistry is pitch perfect and from the interviews I looked up after they had a wonderful time together and I really hope there is going to be another movie like this at some point. I would watch it without a doubt! This combination of power house of different kinds of acting and women supporting one another is something we need more – be they good or bad or grey. Its not to prove that women can do it, but trusting they can do it, we have had enough of the default being the Straight White Male and with this film it gives us every kind of woman and doesn’t put them in boxes made by the men in their lives – who underestimate them.
SPOILERS FROM HERE ON!
At first when seeing the premise and the trailer I immediately thought of Marilyn Monroe’s famous song ‘Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend’ from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953). The song is iconic and when seeing the dress Anne Hathaway wears to The Met Gala in the film reminded me of it being pink and having diamonds studded around.
After doing a little research and finding the Buzzfeednews article about the film with the costume designer Sarah Edwards. In the article Edwards tells about the costuming process and how the different Met Gala designer looks for the women were achieved with using different designers for each woman and each reflecting their personality. Link to full article here.
For Daphne Kruger – Anne Hathaway’s character – she says they wanted an old-world Hollywood movie star in the gown, the dress was made by Valentino. It shows in the picture above and though they reference more Elizabeth Taylor and Sea Gardener as their inspirations for the look of the dress I myself see more Marilyn Monroe, but hey if its just me then let it be.
It would be interesting if it indeed was a take on the Marilyn Monroe at least in the colouring, being the sex symbol and one of many women who were lonely in their stardom, something Daphne reveals herself in the end and the reason she join’s the heist because now she has friends. Might be commentary on lonely stars and how the industry makes them compete for designers for something like the Met Gala and in one seen with her worrying about her looks on how the anxieties of the public eye and the eyes of the camera’s are always judging them for the supposed standards of beauty that do more harm than good. Just a thought. Marilyn was after all thought more even now with her beauty instead of Norma Jean with her real life struggles, Marilyn is an illusion of fame, while Norma Jean is the person who lived it with all of its sexist and superficial attitudes. Again, just a thought here, but what do you think about it?
Thank you for reading!