Fun fact: I’m a sucker for a good heist movie. How To Steal a Million, The Italian Job, the Ocean’s movies, I’m there. Ocean’s 11 has a particularly unique combination of style, class, creativity, and just good old rat-pack vibes that allowed me to escape into the world of the movie in a way that just never gets old. Imagine my joy and delight when I saw the stellar cast for the newest installation of the series, Ocean’s 8.
Sandra Bullock (Gravity) stars as Debbie Ocean, sister to con-man Danny Ocean from the previous Ocean’s movies. She’s just spent five years in prison after being framed, and she’s used her time wisely. When she comes out, she wastes no time in assembling the perfect crew for a heist that could make her family proud. The target? The Met Gala. Specifically, a rather fantastic set of jewels featured at the event.
Cate Blanchett (Carol) is Debbie’s effortlessly cool partner-in-crime who helps to assemble the rest of their crew: has-been fashion designer Rose (Helena Bonham Carter, Alice Through the Looking Glass); jewel-specialist Amita (Mindy Kaling, The Office); fence-turned-housewife Tammy (Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story); pickpocket Constance (Awkwafina, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising); expert hacker Nine Ball (Rihanna, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets); and clever starlet Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway, The Intern).
Now, it would have been easy for a movie to rest on the laurels of the previous movies and its star-studded cast, but I’m pleased to say that it was excellent in its own right. Daniel Pemberton (The Man from U.N.C.L.E.)’s music carried all of the cool, easy rock sounds we love in these movies, and the flashy transitions were typical of the cinematic style we expect from this series.
And speaking of style, the clothes! The jewels! Not only was the characteristic fashion sense of these movies upheld, it was also one-upped by this cast of fashion icons in the ultra-stylish setting of the Met Gala. I don’t care if it makes me look shallow, I just died over how pretty and sparkly everything was.
I went with several of my girlfriends to see this movie and I’m pleased to say that each one of us found the heaping dose of feel-good, uplifting, empowering vibes we were hoping for (and we expected a lot – we even took a Buzzfeed quiz before watching to see which character matched our personalities. I’m a proud Daphne Kluger, btw). The characters were varied and complex, free to be themselves with all of their apparent contradictions. You know, human. In a movie that could have been made just for kicks and giggles, they allowed the glitz and glamor to be icing on the rather fantastic cake, not the substance itself.
And having already admitted to my partiality towards heist movies, I can honestly say that one of my favorite things was that I could actually see myself in this one. Others in this genre are fun, but it’s traditionally a boys’ club (not much room for women unless they’re molls or strippers). This movie let women take center stage, and it gave me a fresh perspective as I was allowed to engage with the story from the vantage point of high heels. The characters didn’t have to pretend to be masculine or abrasive to pull off the job, and the filmmakers didn’t objectify them to emphasize their femininity. No, these were women that my friends and I could see ourselves in, which was tremendously fun.
It was an incredibly self-aware addition to the genre, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. In fact, their position as women (read: unnoticed) was one of their stated reasons for not allowing men into their group. Men get noticed, women get ignored. That was a keen insight, a “weakness” turned on its head and used as a weapon. It totally got me. Historically speaking, women have done well with making the most of what they’re given, however little. This took that theme and ran with it – in ball gowns.
So as you can probably tell by now, it was an easy escape into the glamorous world of high-fashion and heists. The classy, clever, and altogether badass women who capitalized on the knowledge that they’d be ignored are subversive on many levels, easily making them some of the greatest cons in cinematic history.