Ocean’s 8 was executed brilliantly. With an all-woman cast, Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) leads the gang in a winner-take-all heist that would set the group financially for life.
Directed by Gary Ross, the film does an excellent job of focusing on its storyline. It’s an Oceans’ movie so the series is about heists. The girls took part in a big one and it may or may not have been as easy as first thought. I am overjoyed it was a straight-up movie about a theft with a good helping of comedy coupled with suspense. No weird side stories and definitely no sappy romances (thank goodness).
Everyone on the team had a part to play in Debbie’s plan. Fresh out on parole, she had five years to mull this over and craft it to perfection. When she linked up with her old friend Lou (Cate Blanchett) she confidently laid out the plan’s simplicity, “I need a team of eight and $20,000 dollars.”
Without giving too much away, some of their regular day jobs included stay-at-home mom, jeweler, hacker, street magician, and a ‘fixer‘ (like George Clooney’s character in Michael Clayton). The target is $150 million in diamonds – diamonds that will adorn the neck of world-famous actress Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway), who will be center stage at the event of the year, the Met Gala.
The leading ladies consist of the already mentioned Bullock, Blanchett, and Hathaway, followed by Rihanna, Awkwafina, Mindy Kaling, Helena Bonham Carter, and Sara Paulson. Actors James Corden and Richard Armitage leaned more to antagonist roles so this truly is a film about the women sticking together to execute their plan. This was confirmed early on in the planning when Lou suggested a guy and Debbie replied, “Did you say he? Nope, no he’s.” (Listen to the review plus soundbites from Mindy and Awkwafina on our new podcast. )
Now out of the long list of powerful women on the roster, Sandra Bullock is probably the strongest. Which is why it was so different to see her play a minor role in such an elaborate plan. She literally was the planner and allowed everyone else to do their job. There was no micromanaging or having to look over her shoulder and help someone else with their part. She played her role and watched the whole thing play out. Lou was more of the anchor on the team. She was like HR specialist at a small business. She recruited many of the girls, provided a place for them, and kept them abreast of any changes or updates that may have occurred.
Even though Mindy Kaling comes from a world of comedy, most of the laughs come from Awkwafina. Her street knowledge and the way she carries herself from the block to the Met is hilarious. Also kudos to Rihanna, who wasn’t just a ‘name’ for the movie. She played a very important role and was necessary for the plan to take flight.
I give Ocean’s 8 a 9 out of 10. Its lack of predictability and the all-female cast was a great combination for something new and fresh. I have to reiterate, that I am so glad it was not watered down with stereotypical ‘weaknesses’ linked to women in film (overly emotional, sappy love story, nervous about doing their job, etc) and instead highlighted cunning and intelligence. They were all strong, they stuck to the plan, and if one of them faltered, two more were there to lift them up. I thoroughly enjoyed it.