American Hustle, one of the films heating up the Oscar season this year, is one of those pictures that present beautiful simple American moments and a sense of raw fun and complicity between the director and the actors. The fact that we are taken back to the 1970s and that the characters keep switching identities and lying to themselves and others means that the film can be compared to a volcano waiting to explode.
The film opens with Christian Bale’s character Irving combing his hair and hiding his baldness with a small wig. We first see him with his belly falling over his trousers and his shaky fingers steadying his wig, until he buttons up his fine suit and shows relief at how polished he looks. Minutes later, Richie (Bradley Cooper) tries to irritate him by messing up his hair do. Although he doesn’t speak, we know Irving is losing it. If his hair isn’t right, the day can’t start.
This hairstyle thematic runs through David O. Russell’s film, from Richie’s permed locks and Rosalyn’s (Jennifer Lawrence) enormous curls to Sydney’s (Amy Adams) dos that compensate widely for her small physique.
The ensemble is a thrill, and the female cast electric. Lawrence’s ease and nature help her enter any role with humour and charm. Rosalyn receives most of the laughs in this film, as the character’s obsession with not being wrong push her to being very verbal when justifying herself and attacking those that may harm her fantasy. Her presence always lights up the screen and keeps the audience wanting more of her.
But the true highlight of this film and surprise for me is Amy Adams. Her fragility and calmness are completely contradicted by her clothes and wild hair, so much so that we are afraid she may fall into a thousand pieces if something goes wrong, or worse, that a breast will fall out of her tiny dresses!
Sydney is the smartest character on the team and knows it. However, she stays with a man who brings nothing but danger to her life. The art of seduction and double identities are what excite her and give her power over men, but deep down we feel that she doesn’t truly know how she got herself in her situation.
This is without a doubt a film to see this season, as it brings to life the steaming bubbles that are in all of us.