Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
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.
New York Post:
It's a little bit "Boogie Nights," a little bit "Argo," a little bit "GoodFellas." It's a breath mint, it's a chewing gum, it's a laxative, it's a hockey puck.
New York Observer:
I wouldn't call American Hustle my kind of movie, but perversely, I have to admit I enjoyed it, primarily because of the twisted logic and wicked cleverness.
Wall Street Journal:
High-energy comedy comes naturally to the filmmaker. He exults in free association, emotional riffs, in the craziness that underlies ostensibly rational behavior.
Russell, following last year's sweet "The Silver Linings Playbook" with a very different tale of reinvention, has made a glittery disco ball of a movie, with Lawrence as its unexpectedly shining star.
A brilliant cast shines in David O. Russell's deliriously funny account of the notorious Abscam case.
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.
The film may lack grit but the stellar cast adds to its allure, helping to round out this dynamic account where reinvention offers the means to endure.
A sloppy, miscast, hammed up, overlong, overloud story that still sends you out of the theater on a cloud of rapture.
J. R. Jones,
Filled with rich characters and sharp dialogue, the movie turns on questions of friendship and fidelity, both personal and political, with a knockout performance by Jennifer Lawrence as the con man's jealous, ball-busting wife.
The film zigs and zags, chasing after many different characters. And that sprawl, the rogue's gallery of strays, cheaters and deceivers, activates the film rather than deflates it.
Christian Science Monitor:
It's a kaleidoscopic carnival, structured from the viewpoint of each of its main protagonists. The film itself is devised a species of scam, and for a while it's fun to be in on the con. Russell is, in effect, playing us.
Director David O. Russell and co-writer Eric Warren Singer grab hold of the FBI's long-time Abscam sting (conducted in the late '70s into 1980) as their kernel of truth, then Jiffy Pop it like mad.
Ambitious even as it studies, exploits and explodes ambition, "American Hustle" is as good as any American film this year. It's also a lot of fun. Don't miss it.
It's a film of jaw-dropping virtuosity and pleasure, one that leaves you revved, enthralled, tickled, moved, and amazed.
While Russell's film succeeds on the strength of its casting and characters, it's dragged down by a murky and poorly-paced narrative.
An infectious blast of funky jazz played by a terrific cast and a director at the top of their respective games.
San Jose Mercury News:
Even with a freewheeling style, "Hustle" is never aimless. All that flash, sass and canny sense for detail hit the jackpot ...
To borrow a phrase the film's con artists are prone to saying, American Hustle works from the feet up, and the fun is intoxicating.
It's a high-spirited lark that works thanks to Russell's dazzling direction, delicious period details and a parade of stellar performances.
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.
Russell out-Scorseses Scorsese with hyperbolic technique: whip-pans, whooshes, slo-mo, and tacky but great '70s chart-toppers. He winds his actors up and lets them loose.
New York Times:
"American Hustle" giddily embraces the excesses of its era, from spandex to 'staches, though it's a farce that speaks as well to this tarnished age.
Orange County Register:
The source of this movie's galvanizing intrigue is that the characters remain in play -- they never settle into place
American Hustle is a movie built on that cornerstone of the American Dream, reinvention. If you're not happy with who you are, or who people think you are, then go ahead and become somebody else. Anything to survive - and thrive.
In spite of the subject matter's seediness (ABSCAM resulted in the corruption convictions of a U.S. senator, six members of the House of Representatives, and several lesser politicians), Russell's script is laced with wit.
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.
Isn't it a pleasure to get hustled by such exquisite professionals?
San Francisco Chronicle:
Russell has always had a talent for harmonizing tragedy and comedy, seriousness and outlandishness, all within a precise tone that allows for a wide range of emotions and effects. But his hand has never been more sure.
Overweight, balding, and outfitted in supremely ugly '70s high fashion-I seem to recall a pumpkin-colored polyester three-piece suit-Bale has never looked worse, or been better.
Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Even at two hours and 20 minutes, the movie doesn't wear you down. It carries you along with heedless momentum, giddy and exhilarated at its all-American ambition and scam-artist confidence.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
With a solid-gold cast and a sterling script, "American Hustle" has a higher return on investment than any other movie in the marketplace.
Globe and Mail:
Save your admiration for the performances, especially Lawrence, who is now Hollywood's most important presence in front of the camera.
Has the kind of throbbing pulse, wicked snap and sheer moviemaking bravado that makes it one of a very few films that can be mentioned in the same breath as Goodfellas.
Jennifer Lawrence is entirely extraordinary, improving on the performance that won her an Oscar for Russell's last film. Long may this collaboration continue.
Does American Hustle have heart -- does it have importance? Such naive questions: It has Jennifer Lawrence blowing up a microwave.
With one of the best ensemble casts of any film this year, it's audacious, enthralling and uproarious.
There may not be much behind the sparkling tinsel curtain of David O. Russell's extraordinarily entertaining American Hustle. But what a curtain!
"American Hustle" may have taken its inspiration from the art of the steal, but it has a heart of pure, if slightly tarnished, gold.