The Grade Book: “American Hustle”

American Hustle grade book pic

Plot: Two con artists team up with an unorthodox FBI agent to take down New Jersey powerbrokers.

Director: David O. Russell

Writers: Eric Singer, David O. Russell

Cast: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner and Jennifer Lawrence

Genre: Crime, Drama

Running Time: 2 hours, 18 minutes

U.S. Release Date: December 13, 2013

MPAA Rating: R




(Lowest grade given to the film: B, Highest grade given to the film: A)

SUMMARY OF THOUGHTS: David O. Russell’s crime caper shines with it’s terrific cast, style, editing and soundtrack, but the story and emotional value is a bit lacking.



  • Joseph Akers

Grade: A-

American Hustle is a energetic and vibrant film with a rich personality. It’s fast paced and never has a dull moment. The film does (unfortunately) loose it’s heart in the middle act, but the heart was fortunately regained in the third act. The film has some hilarious elements, and the characters are developed extremely well with each character having a fair amount of appeal, wit and charm. American Hustle, although not a perfect film, deserves all of the recognition it has received at the Golden Globe Awards. It’s never dull, just a heck of a ride!


  • Gabriel “Big Gabe” Alcantara

Grade: B

There are many great aspects to this film, for sure. Great acting, style, fashion, music, sharp editing, good narrative, great dialogue, it’s a great watch. It’s just not that exceptional. I wasn’t fully hooked on the plot. It was interesting but not necessarily exciting. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good film overall, but it will probably be nowhere near my top 10 of 2013.


  • Adam Bilbrey

Grade: B

A film that is well crafted, but left me empty in the substance department. The style, acting, visuals, soundtrack, etc. are perfect. But the substance and story wasn’t executed as coherently and smooth as I wanted it to. I wanted to love this film, but I had to be honest with myself: I was empty.


  • Chad Gleason (MovieManCHAD)

Grade: B+

It has Great Acting, Superior Production Value and wonderful Dialogue, But there is something missing with the overall story. Maybe on repeat visits I will find it.


  • Mark Krawczyk

Grade: B+

I enjoyed this film for the performances more so than the story. Every actor brings their A game to this movie. Stand out performances by Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence really help carry you through the middle of the film. The story does end strong but it really feels secondary to the characters themselves. Hopefully an Oscar nomination for Jennifer and/or Amy is in the near future for their roles in this movie.


  • Zachary Marsh

Grade: B+

As enjoyable as it is well-acted, American Hustle is a well made caper with an interesting story and spectacular performances, but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t a little overrated, because it is. Bale stole the show for me, and the film dragged on a bit. Other than that, stellar flick.


  • Matt Marshall

Grade: A

And here I thought David O. Russell couldn’t top himself after “Silver Linings Playbook” last year. “American Hustle” does the impossible by raising the bar once more for Director O. Russell with sharp, unpredictable storytelling that doesn’t miss a beat.


  • Austin Putnam

Grade: B

I loved The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook. Once I heard David O’ Russell was making this I was psyched. Although I think I put my expectations too high because American Hustle honestly underwhelmed me. I really started to notice Russell’s ego in the multiple story lines this movie had. The film has great acting, a fantastic soundtrack and a fantastic ending. Although the film was too packed. Most over hyped film of the year IMO.


  • Callum Slater

Grade: A

An unpredictable, beautifully acted portrait of America in the 70s, brimmed with memorable moments, scenes and lines with many colourful characters in them in a great script that showcases humanity, desperation and humour. Christian Bale gives his best performance since The Fighter, giving a genuine performance as does Amy Adams. Jennifer Lawrence is off the charts insane but terrific never treading the line of forced and Bradley Cooper is terrific in a comedic take on his role in Place Beyond the Pines. David O Russell is back in full form, reinventing himself as one the best directors of this generation, with unique camera work and great style but never takes anything too far. The only flaw is the conclusion for some characters, but American Hustle is one of the year’s best. Look out Oscars.


  • Bryan Sudfield

Grade: B+

It was a good movie but I think it’s way too overhyped. Acting was great (look, I think Jennifer Lawrence was great, but I feel that Christian Bale and Amy Adams were much better than her), music was great, pacing was a little off. Out of all the films in this sorta “trilogy”, this is probably the weakest. The story just dragged a bit and the movie felt way way too long. But, hey, this ain’t a bad film. I might have to watch it again to apperciate it. I still would recommend it to those who are interested.

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