A fictional film set in the alluring world of one of the most stunning scandals to rock our nation, American Hustle tells the story of brilliant con man Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale), who along with his equally cunning and seductive British partner Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) is forced to work for a wild FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper). DiMaso pushes them into a world of Jersey powerbrokers and mafia that’s as dangerous as it is enchanting.
Jeremy Renner is Carmine Polito, the passionate, volatile, New Jersey political operator caught between the con-artists and Feds. Irving’s unpredictable wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) could be the one to pull the thread that brings the entire world crashing down.
The movie opens with the statement, “Some of this actually happened.” Well, the 1970s certainly happened, but I doubt that many people resembled the main characters in this story. The opening scene sets the tone by showing Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) fixing his hair. This is an elaborate process involving glue and a comb-over.
Bale gained more than 40 pounds to play the role, and herniated two discs while perfecting his slouching posture. It’s quite a transformation. That opening scene is a clear statement that American Hustle is not going to be a serious drama, and the movie rarely deviates from that initial statement of intent.
Director: David O. Russell
Year of Release: 2013
Character to watch: Christian Bale as Irving Rosenfeld.
Journal your answers to the following questions after you watch the movie.
- How does this particular character’s journey compare with yours?
- Did the character develop certain characteristics during the movie that you have or that you would like to have? If so, what are those characteristics?
- What obstacles did this character face? What was his or her biggest challenge?
- What would you have done differently if you had been in the same position as the character?
- Is this character the type of person you would be friends with? Why or why not?