Standing out in a cast that includes the likes of Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kalling, Rihanna and Akwafina is no small task. But you did.
You play Daphne Kluger, a narcissistic, bratty, and vacuous A-List celebrity who wears around her neck the Toussaint, a 150 million dollar necklace graciously lent to her by Cartier for the express purpose of attending the Met Gala. This necklace, and the Gala itself are the target of a heist. But it turns out you pulled the heist by stealing the movie out from under the rest of the cast.
I don’t know why this surprised me. Despite your many on-screen accomplishments, and obvious talents, for a while it became cool to hate on you. Perhaps it’s the earnest high school theatre nerd vibe you exude, or that in interviews you always seemed to be “on”. Neither of which should be punishable offences. This hate seemed to peak right around the time Jennifer Lawrence showed up on red carpets with her potty-mouthed, three-shots-in, klutzy antics. Where you composed yourself with poised professionalism, Jen’s filter-free and natural demeanor was embraced as a refreshing alternative while you, dear Anne, became an object of derision. Not the first time women have been pitted against one another for Hollywood sport, but hopefully, with the weekend box office success of Ocean’s 8 (now the franchise’s highest opening weekend), we can put that tired narrative to bed in favour of a new and much improved trope: Women working together get shit done.
And let’s be honest, we could use some new tropes. Not that the old ones don’t work, as evidenced in the boiler-plate plot of Ocean’s 8. The script, written by Gary Ross (who also directed) and Olivia Milch, delivers the familiar beats of heist films that we know and love: “protagonist gets out of jail with a plan”, “getting the gang back together aka assembling a ragtag band of misfits”, “the con within a con” etc. We have Sandra Bullock as The Mastermind, Cate Blanchet as her Right-Hand Woman, Sarah Paulson as The Fence, Rihanna as The Hacker, and so on. Beyond its all-star, female cast, Ocean’s 8 isn’t giving us anything we haven’t seen before, but it doesn’t have to. Going back to the 1960 Ocean’s 11 starring the Rat Pack, to Steven Soderbergh’s 2000s reboots starring George Clooney, Brad Pit, Matt Damon et al, the plot is almost secondary to the fun of watching some of the world’s biggest stars trade witty banter while outsmarting super-rich people.
That’s all a heist flick really needs to do – give us some glitz and glamour to drool over, some snappy dialogue, and a cast with enough chemistry to keep us rooting for them while they plan and pull one over on the 1%-ers. Give us a good time at the Cineplex, a pleasant diversion, a film that we can pretty much forget by the time we get to our cars in the theatre parking lot. It doesn’t have to be ground breaking. Perhaps Ocean’s 8 has escaped the misogynistic online vitriol that has plagued other reboots like the female-led Ghostbusters simply because this franchise is not nearly as beloved, nor is it considered sacred canon by its fans. It seems like every time a group of women dare to tread on sacred boy’s club territory that the result has to be twice as good as its all-male predecessor to even be considered half as worthy. Hopefully, Ocean’s 8 proves women can deliver a solid, fun, if somewhat mediocre film that can be received with the same spirit as the mediocre films men make all the time
That’s not to say that the pressure wasn’t on for this newest reboot to succeed. But it certainly wasn’t imperative that Ocean’s 8 elevate the genre to unexpected heights in order for audiences to enjoy the result. It’s obvious you were having a blast playing Daphne in all her spoiled, egotistical glory, which made it equally a blast to watch. Indeed, the whole cast gets their individual moments to shine, and though none do as brightly as you, this heist is a team effort. This is a movie that people shouldn’t go and watch simply because the cast are all women, they should go specifically because the film cast these particular women. But especially you, Anne.
Heisters gonna heist,