Is Hustlers Based on a True Story? Plot and Ending Explained

Hustlers Movie

Hustlers is a movie released in 2019, which falls under the genres of crime, comedy, and drama, and is directed and written by Lorene Scafaria. It is based on the 2015 article “The Hustlers at Scores” by Jessica Pressler, published in the New York magazine.

The movie stars an ensemble cast of Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Stiles, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, Lizzo, and Cardi B. The plot revolves around a group of strippers based in New York City, who resort to drugging and robbing wealthy stock traders and CEOs, who frequent their strip club, by maxing out their credit cards. Lopez, who also co-produced the movie under Nuyorican Productions, was joined by Jessica Elbaum, Will Ferrell, and Adam McKay, who produced the film under their Gloria Sanchez banner.

The movie was first announced in February 2016, with Annapurna Pictures set to finance and distribute the movie. However, due to financial difficulties, Annapurna dropped the rights in October 2018. STX Entertainment then picked up the rights, and filming took place in New York City from March to May 2019, with the majority of the cast joining the film that fall.

Hustlers premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 2019, and was released in theaters across the United States on September 13, 2019. The movie received positive reviews from critics, with Lopez’s performance garnering praise, for which she was nominated for Golden Globe and SAG awards. Hustlers was also commercially successful, grossing $157.6 million worldwide, against a production budget of $20.7 million.

Is Hustlers Based on a True Story?

Yes, “Hustlers” is based on a true story. The film was inspired by a New York Magazine article titled “The Hustlers at Scores,” which was published in 2015. The article, written by journalist Jessica Pressler, detailed the experiences of a group of strippers who worked at Scores, a high-end gentleman’s club in New York City, and their scheme to scam wealthy Wall Street clients out of thousands of dollars by drugging them and running up their credit cards.

The movie, directed by Lorene Scafaria, stars Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez as two of the main characters, Destiny and Ramona, respectively. The story follows their journey as they recruit other dancers to join their scheme and how their operation eventually comes crashing down when they attract the attention of law enforcement.

While the film takes some creative liberties with the story and characters, it is largely based on the real-life events detailed in the New York Magazine article. The article itself was based on interviews with some of the actual women involved in the scam, as well as court documents and other sources.

Hustlers Netflix

Hustlers is a 2019 American crime comedy-drama film that was written and directed by Lorene Scafaria. The film is based on a 2015 article by Jessica Pressler in New York magazine titled “The Hustlers at Scores.” Hustlers stars Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Stiles, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, Lizzo, and Cardi B.

Is for Hustlers being on Netflix, the film was added to the platform’s streaming library on April 1, 2020, for viewers in the United States. The film is available for Netflix subscribers to watch anytime, as long as they have an active subscription to the service.

Hustlers Cast



Constance Wu Destiny (real name Dorothy), a stripper
Jennifer Lopez Ramona Vega, a veteran stripper
Keke Palmer Mercedes, a stripper
Lili Reinhart Annabelle, a stripper
Lizzo Liz, a stripper
Cardi B Diamond, a stripper
Julia Stiles Elizabeth, a journalist
Mercedes Ruehl Mama, the club’s den mother
Wai Ching Ho Destiny’s grandmother
Madeline Brewer Dawn
Trace Lysette Tracey
Mette Towley Justice
G-Eazy Johnny
Frank Whaley Reese, Ramona’s rich client
Paul Nielsen Detective Hunter
Brandon Keener Alpha
Steven Boyer Doug
Jon Glaser Mark
Devin Ratray Stephen
Rhys Coiro Spencer
Jovanni Ortiz Joe, one of Ramona’s clients
Big Jay Oakerson DJ, the club’s DJ
Usher himself
Kersti Bryan Amy, Destiny’s neighbor

Hustlers Plot

The movie “Hustlers” follows the story of a journalist named Elizabeth who is investigating the life of former New York City stripper Dorothy, also known as Destiny. Elizabeth is particularly interested in Destiny’s former friend and mentor, Ramona Vega, who was also a stripper. The story takes place in two different timelines, with one set seven years prior and the other set in 2014.

In the past timeline, Destiny is a struggling stripper at the Moves club who meets Ramona after being impressed by her performance and the amount of money she earns. Ramona agrees to mentor Destiny, and they quickly become close friends, forming a powerful team. Destiny’s financial situation improves, and she enjoys newfound wealth and success thanks to Ramona’s guidance. However, the 2007-2008 financial crisis leaves both women jobless, and they lose touch with each other.

In the present timeline, Destiny is a single mother struggling to make ends meet. She returns to the strip club industry but finds that it has drastically changed. The financial crisis has resulted in a decline in customers, and the club is now mainly staffed by Russian dancers who are willing to perform sexual acts for money. Destiny finds herself in a desperate situation and crosses the line by performing sexual acts for money.

Destiny reconnects with Ramona, who introduces her to a new hustle targeting wealthy men in bars. Ramona and her proteges, Mercedes and Annabelle, drug the men’s drinks and then take them to the club, where they charge their credit cards. The hustle is extremely profitable, and the women enjoy their newfound wealth. However, other strippers begin to copy their strategies, and Ramona cuts her ties with the club to keep all the money for themselves.

Mercedes and Annabelle grow uncomfortable with the new practices and leave, leading Ramona to hire new recruits with drug problems and criminal records as well as finding strangers as new clients, against Destiny’s advice. The group’s illegal activities take a dangerous turn when one of their clients suffers a near-fatal accident, and Destiny must take him to the hospital when Ramona cannot be reached. The situation leads to a falling out between Destiny and Ramona, and Destiny’s grandmother dies.

In 2014, Elizabeth interviews Destiny about her past life, but Destiny becomes uncomfortable when Elizabeth asks about Ramona and Doug, one of their former targets. Destiny recalls how her friendship with Ramona fell apart due to Ramona’s callousness and the group’s criminal activities. Doug provides evidence of their crimes to the police, leading to the arrest of the group. Destiny takes a plea deal and avoids jail time to be with her daughter. Ramona receives probation, while the others serve short jail sentences before being released on probation.

In the end, Destiny reaches out to Ramona after reading Elizabeth’s article, and they reconcile. Ramona fondly expresses her admiration for Destiny and how she cannot understand how Destiny’s parents could have abandoned her.

Hustlers Ending Explained

The ending of Hustlers is open to interpretation, but here is an explanation of what happened:

After being arrested for drugging and stealing from their clients, Ramona (Jennifer Lopez) and Destiny (Constance Wu) face the consequences of their actions. Ramona, who was the mastermind behind the scheme, seems to have accepted her fate and is content with having made enough money to retire. Destiny, on the other hand, is remorseful and expresses regret for what she has done.

The film ends with a flashforward to a few years later, where Destiny is working as a waitress at a family restaurant and raising her daughter. She receives a surprise visit from Ramona, who tells her that she has a job opportunity for her. Ramona wants to start a new scheme, but Destiny is hesitant to get involved again, knowing the risks and consequences.

The ending can be seen as a commentary on the cycle of poverty and the desperation that can lead people to make questionable choices. Ramona and Destiny turned to stripping and stealing as a means of survival, but ultimately got caught and faced the consequences. However, with few other opportunities for financial stability, Ramona is already planning her next scheme, while Destiny is left to weigh the risks and rewards of getting involved again.

Overall, the ending of Hustlers leaves viewers with a sense of ambiguity and moral complexity, inviting them to consider the larger societal factors at play and the difficult choices that people make in order to survive.

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