Universal acclaim - based on 47 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 932 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , , , , , ,
  • Summary: A fictional film set in the alluring world of one of the most stunning scandals to rock our nation, American Hustle tells the story of con man Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale), who along with his equally cunning and seductive partner Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) is forced to work for a wild FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper). DiMaso pushes them into a world of Jersey powerbrokers and mafia that's as dangerous as it is enchanting. Caught between the con-artists and Feds is Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner), the passionate, volatile, New Jersey political operator, but it's Irving's unpredictable wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) who could be the one to pull the thread that brings the entire world crashing down. [Sony Pictures] Collapse
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 46 out of 47
  2. Negative: 0 out of 47
  1. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Dec 21, 2013
    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. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Dec 12, 2013
    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.
  3. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Dec 18, 2013
    American Hustle is David O. Russell's best film, one that finds him in that ideal zone of spontaneity and complete control.
  4. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Dec 12, 2013
    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.
  5. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Dec 19, 2013
    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.
  6. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    Dec 16, 2013
    An extremely entertaining, brilliantly acted, highly diverting film which — like all hustles — delivers less than it promises. Still, it’s worth being taken for the ride.
  7. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Dec 10, 2013
    American Hustle is a movie that was built backward, or inside out: It puts actors’ needs before the audience’s. There’s no heart under those polyester lapels, and what all that Aqua Net is pasting together is a few sparse strands of wispy story.

See all 47 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 46 out of 253
  1. Dec 13, 2013
    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. Expand
  2. Jan 20, 2014
    This movie has you guessing which way the story is heading one minute and then it heads in the opposite direction. It's replete with comedy, intrigue, suspense and action. It's well worth it to see it on the big screen. Expand
  3. Mar 4, 2014
    American Hustle has a slow, dragging style, which explains why I gave up the first time I watched it before it reached the half hour mark. It felt like the film was trying too hard to create a story, and all the characters felt archetype. But the movie does pick up and become somewhat interesting after that. Though the character motivations are never explored, we get to see the different sides of them which make them all human.

    The plot is simple yet complex, but what it never is intriguing enough. Some con-men are coerced by the FBI into setting up members of the Congress and the Mafia. They must find a way to do the job without being targeted by them afterwards and yet not get incarcerated.

    Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) is an ageing swindler who has a nice steady income through his various clandestine operations. Things get messy for him when he comes across Edith Greensly (Amy Adams), for he has a wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) who can create a lot of trouble for him if she isn't kept happy. Richard (Bradley Cooper) is the agent who deals directly with him. He is clever and ambitious and selfish, but mostly is a liability who more often than not gets in their way and creates complications as they try to complete their job assigned to them by the agency. Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner) is the mayor who is fooled into joining the team in helping the FBI bring down the politicians and the mobsters.

    I felt like the nominations in the categories of acting were undeserved. On the contrary I'm of the opinion that Renner should have been recognized instead of the underwhelming performance given by Cooper. Sure Bale did a good enough job, and he felt like he worked for the role, with his hair and body fat. Adams, in addition to showing a lot of skin, showed another side of her which I believe I had not seen before. She certainly felt like a better actress.

    The art department did a commendable job. The hairstyles, costumes, cars, and room interiors were convincing enough. What was lacking was a plot which would have matched the effort put into bringing the 70s era onto the screen. I was amused by some of the characterization, yet was waiting for over the top humour or insight into the business or a plot twist or something. Sadly there was little if not nothing that blew my mind. Other movies have done the job required of a period piece equally well and fallen to pieces without the support of a strong story but this film was spared that fate because of the names of the cast and director. Rush would have been a better consideration for the category of Best Picture. At least it succeeded in entertaining the hell out of me as well as showing the 1970s.

    It wasn't especially a bad movie, just not something I would have liked nominated for the top prize. It was way over-hyped, and left a bad taste in my mouth when within ten minutes of starting copied Goodfellas in dual voice-over.
  4. Dec 27, 2013
    An entertaining movie, exceptionally acted. Somebody in this movie will win an Academy Award for acting...probably Bradley Cooper for his portrayal of the ambitious FBI agent. The main characters were all terrific. I have to say I felt a bit disappointed in the end though. I was hoping for a more satisfying ending akin to "The Sting". Expand
  5. Jan 5, 2014
    Anticipating American Hustle I was convinced that it would be one of my top films of the year. After all it has a great cast, a talented director and a trailer that makes it look exciting and complex. Unfortunately, its complexity is a major flaw. The story is so convoluted that maximum attention is demanded. However, excessive lengh and a tendancy towards the pedantic encourages the attention to wander. The cast give it their all. Christian Bale continues to create zany out there characters; Jennifer Lawrence is fun, but obvious; Bradley Cooper is way over the top, and Jeremy Renner flies under the radar.The real news here is Amy Adams who all but steals the film. Excitingly cast against her usual 'good girl' type, she gives a power house performance that is her best to date. She and Bale are the film's strongest asset and it benefits from their chemistry together. Production values are spot on in depicting the 70's fashion, with hair and costumes creating a great diversion. It also contains a wonderful pop soundtrack of the era which encourages one to reminisce. In the final analysis American Hustle, sadly, lacks something. This leaves one feeling that the whole does not add up to the sum of its,quite excellent, parts. Expand
  6. Jan 5, 2014
    A few thoughts on this film... It was like each actor was trying to out-do each other with over-the-top, Oscar-bait performances. The acting felt artificial and too cerebral. Poorly cast and the accents of the characters were all over the place. Jeremy Renner as an Italian New Jersey mayor? Huh? I find Christian Bale arrogant and smug, so his presence here didn't help. And he's not convincing as a balding, paunchy New York Jew. Jennifer Lawrence doesn't belong in this movie and can't do accents. Amy Adams is wonderful, but she's a little too sweet for this role. Great outfits, though. Expand
  7. Mar 10, 2014
    Good actors, poor story, extremely boring movie. They could make the ending brilliant by saying something like "And then he found a five dollar bill!"

See all 253 User Reviews


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