American Hustle Performance Divides Critics and Audiences

    December 23, 2013

American Hustle has received many SAG ,Critics’ Choice and Golden Globe nominations. Now with the movie expanding its release, everyone has an opinion on it.  The last couple of years David O’Russell became a trusted director for making buzzworthy films. Both The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook did well critically and racked up many awards. Therefore, American Hustle is almost guaranteed critic success.

Despite the Oscar buzz, the press has been heavily focusing on Jennifer Lawrence and her involvement in the film. She currently holds the  Hollywood ‘It’ girl status, because of the Hunger Game franchise success, and her Oscar win for Silver Linings Playbook. Though Lawrence’s role is more of a minor one compared to Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Renner, many of the films trailers heavily focus on Lawrence’s character, Rosalyn. A definite smart marketing strategy based on Lawrence’s proven box office success. Understandably this causes people to become more critical of Lawrence’s performance than others in the film.

Most critics have praised Lawrence for bringing such an unlikable character to life in a believable way. She adds dimensions to a character who could have been cartoonish. The Boston Herald, and Louisville all have called Lawrence a “scene-stealer” in American Hustle.  However, some critics say that might not necessarily be a good thing. The NY Post says that Lawrence “badly over plays” her character. The Wire tried to tread lightly with its criticism of Lawrence’s performance but, eventually, had this to say about it:

“Lawrence embarks upon a Zellwegerian Cold Mountain march to the sea, trampling all other scene partners in her path, towards what certainly looks to be an Oscar nomination, maybe even another win. Girl goes big, but despite whatever accolades come her way, it’s a miscalculation, and kind of an embarrassing one.”

The audience of the film are even more divided. On the Entertainment Weekly‘s review for the movie, one user said, “she steals the scene due to some sloppy, brassy ‘look at me, over-acting.”

On the positive side on an HItFix article, one user had this to say about Jennifer Lawrence’s performance:


American Hustle itself seems to be causing the same type of critical division. That’s expected with any major film.  Additionally, bad reviews of Lawrence’s performance  probably won’t deter fans of Lawrence, O’Russell, or any of the cast and crew, from seeing this film.

For proof, look to Twitter, which is full of comments like these about Lawrence being in American Hustle: 



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