Metascore
90

Universal acclaim - based on 47 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 46 out of 47
  2. Negative: 0 out of 47
  1. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Dec 21, 2013
    100
    A work of tremendous confidence and dazzling showmanship that may just be a delirious movie-as-drug-high or may, if you choose to read it this way, contain a level of commentary about the nature of America and the illusioneering of Hollywood.
  2. 100
    The movie is a slot machine that never stops spitting quarters.
  3. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Dec 21, 2013
    100
    There’s a great fever-dream quality to David O. Russell’s American Hustle that instantly reels you in.
  4. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Dec 20, 2013
    100
    Big hair. Big mouths. Big scams. Everything about American Hustle, David O. Russell's wild and woolly take on the late-'70s FBI sting operation code-named Abscam, is big. And the biggest thing of all is the love story that beats at the heart of this rollicking disco-era ensemble piece.
  5. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Dec 19, 2013
    100
    As much as anything, the wildly entertaining ’70s flashback American Hustle is a triumph of style.
  6. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Dec 18, 2013
    100
    American Hustle is David O. Russell's best film, one that finds him in that ideal zone of spontaneity and complete control.
  7. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Dec 18, 2013
    100
    The whole movie, a feast of ensemble wiles and stunning hair, is juicy, funny and alive.
  8. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Dec 18, 2013
    100
    Russell and co-writer Eric Warren Singer lay out these deceits and double-crosses with precision but American Hustle isn't merely a procedural. Defining these outsized personalities, tracing their unconventional connections and affections, is where Russell's movie finds its irreverent heartbeat.
  9. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    Dec 13, 2013
    100
    American Hustle is the best time I’ve had at the movies all year, a movie so perfectly executed, such wall-to-wall fun, so filled with the joy of expert filmmaking on every level I can’t imagine anyone who loves movies not loving THIS movie.
  10. Reviewed by: Christy Lemire
    Dec 13, 2013
    100
    David O. Russell out-Scorseses Martin Scorsese with American Hustle, a '70s crime romp that's ridiculously entertaining in all the best ways.
  11. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Dec 12, 2013
    100
    High-energy comedy comes naturally to the filmmaker. He exults in free association, emotional riffs, in the craziness that underlies ostensibly rational behavior. The crosscurrents have crosscurrents in his films, but the current that carries everything along here is announced by the first strains of music from the screen: Duke Ellington's "Jeep's Blues," with one of the most exuberant passages in all of jazz. David O. Russell does buoyancy better than anyone.
  12. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Dec 12, 2013
    100
    [Russell's] dizzying, outlandishly entertaining American Hustle is a 21-first century screwball farce about 20th-century con men, scam artists and those who dream of living large, a film that is big hearted and off the wall in equal measure.
  13. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Dec 12, 2013
    100
    Mr. Bale, like some other stars who embrace playing ugly, feels as if he’d been liberated by all the pounds he’s packed on and by his character’s molting looks, an emancipation that’s most evident in his delicately intimate, moving moments with Ms. Adams and Ms. Lawrence.
  14. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Dec 11, 2013
    100
    It's a film of jaw-dropping virtuosity and pleasure, one that leaves you revved, enthralled, tickled, moved, and amazed.
  15. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Dec 10, 2013
    100
    A dynamite crime comedy and identity meltdown that can rekindle one’s faith in movies.
  16. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Dec 10, 2013
    100
    Reveling in its ’70s milieu and in the eternal abrasion of sexy women and covetous men, American Hustle is an urban eruption of flat-out fun — the sharpest, most exhilarating comedy in years. Anyone who says otherwise must be conning you.
  17. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Dec 4, 2013
    100
    An infectious blast of funky jazz played by a terrific cast and a director at the top of their respective games.
  18. Reviewed by: A.A. Dowd
    Dec 11, 2013
    91
    American Hustle turns out to be a freewheeling party of a movie, one that never stops adding complications and wrinkles and hungry new players to the mix.
  19. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Dec 17, 2013
    90
    Boasting terrific acting, a brilliant soundtrack, outrageous outfits and hair, and a kinda-sorta based-on-fact story of ambition and greed, it’s relentless, in the best possible way.
  20. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Dec 10, 2013
    90
    There may not be much behind the sparkling tinsel curtain of David O. Russell's extraordinarily entertaining American Hustle. But what a curtain!
  21. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Dec 9, 2013
    90
    “Inside Llewyn Davis” and “Nebraska” are the current standards of what a serious Hollywood movie looks like. American Hustle offers so many easy pleasures that people may not think of it as a work of art, but it is. In the world that Russell has created, if you don’t come to play you’re not fully alive. An art devoted to appetite has as much right to screen immortality as the most austere formal invention.
  22. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Dec 4, 2013
    90
    It’s a rich, glorious mess, and its underlying craftsmanship is apparent in the characters’ beautifully delineated relationships, each with its own jangly rhythm and distinct feel.
  23. Reviewed by: Liam Lacey
    Dec 20, 2013
    88
    The character of Rosalyn – a mash-up of Carole Lombard, Lady Macbeth and maybe even Regan from The Exorcist – is by far the most hair-raising phenomenon in a movie bristling with high hair.
  24. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Dec 19, 2013
    88
    The warmth that courses through American Hustle makes it irresistible, with Russell’s affection for his characters and his sharp-eyed evocation of their recessionary times, honoring their struggle, however dishonest, rather than denigrating it.
  25. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Dec 19, 2013
    88
    Like his con artists are prone to saying, American Hustle works from the feet up, and the fun is intoxicating.
  26. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Dec 16, 2013
    88
    American Hustle is an essay on the brilliance of corruption.
  27. 88
    The disco decadence, the seedy era before Times Square became a theme park, the lowered expectations of an endless recession, everything that was then and is now makes up American Hustle. And that’s what makes this the best movie of this holiday season.
  28. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Dec 12, 2013
    88
    With one of the best ensemble casts of any film this year, it's audacious, enthralling and uproarious.
  29. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Dec 12, 2013
    88
    For some, the silver linings in Russell’s movies represent a failure to embrace darkness. I see them as a humanist’s act of resistance. That’s why American Hustle ranks with the year’s best movies. It gets under your skin.
  30. Reviewed by: Todd Gilchrist
    Dec 4, 2013
    83
    Although movies like “Goodfellas” are indisputable forebears for Russell’s decadent tale of crime and punishment, the filmmaker distinguishes himself by creating a complex and compelling web of manipulation between the characters that eventually supersedes any of their scheming or con artistry.
  31. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Dec 4, 2013
    83
    Story comes second to Russell over the rhythms of well-timed bickering, which is a blessing and a curse in American Hustle.
User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 913 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 45 out of 248
  1. Dec 13, 2013
    10
    David O. Russel proves once again how good of a director he is. The acting is also hugely strong, most notably from Jennifer Lawrence and Christian Bale. This is a sure bet for the Oscar race and as a whole its just a fantastic film, beautifully acted, vibrantly filmed and if you're a fan of Silver Linings Playbook or other O. Russel pics you'll love this film. Full Review »
  2. Dec 21, 2013
    2
    You are kidding me. This movie is one of the best? Odds-on favorite for best picture? Who are these professional reviewers? Ahh, yes, they are of that postmodernist breed who like nonsense disguised as cinematic art. Sorry, but this was a mess. To start you had three character narration tracks, Irving, Richie, and Sydney all had their turns--a director's shot at cutting-edge experimentation that was just stupid. Then there was the uneven smattering of Pulp Fiction-like time exploitation which just made it disjointed. The main blight was this now typical fixation with showcasing people doing stunningly insipid things then forcing us to gaze at others trying to cope in wildly emotional ways. This drives me crazy. The attempt at some penetrating authenticity with mere random and painfully distended melodrama was so contrived I just want to puke at the screen. You saw the same thing with Silver Linings Playbook and I hated that movie for the same reason. Yet I keep reading how David O. Russell is so wonderful, so I thought I'd give him another chance and see if this would be different. It wasn't. It gets a "2" rating because it did get tepidly interesting with the mob involvement there for a bit, as well as some of the con artist twists. Other than that, boorishly silly to the hilt Full Review »
  3. Dec 4, 2013
    9
    If you're a lover the Silver Linings Playbook cast, they're pretty much all back in this film. I'd heard a ton about the ABSCAM scandal through out my youth, so I'm happy that Russell decided to bring the story to life in such a hilarious fasion. Cooper isn't as amazing as you'd like him to be here (he needed to tone down the mania just a bit), but Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence, and, especially, Amy Adams carry the weight of this film. And yes, lest I forget, Renner is brilliant. I'd also like to specifically call out the music as dead-on perfect. The film feels a touch long, but you really can't go wrong with this movie. Full Review »