Ocean’s 8 is clever, fun, and a fine testament to how compelling an all-female cast can be when given its own space.
by Emily Mary Chin, Carrybeans
The story kicks off with a passing of the baton from brother to sister, larcenist to larcenist. The beginning moments of the movie introduces its star, Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock). And we learn very quickly that she is the sibling of the seemingly deceased lead of the previous Ocean’s films, Danny Ocean (George Clooney).
But all is not as it seems. When Debbie goes to visit his grave at the beginning of the movie, a familiar face joins her. Reuben Tishkoff (Elliot Gould), financier to Danny’s Ocean’s 11 team, shows up to warn her not to go through with her plan. She then asks what ‘he’ thinks about her plan, to which Reuben says that ‘he’ thinks it’s a brilliant one. The ‘he’ in question could only be one a person. And Ocean’s superfans would all agree that that person is Danny Ocean himself.
It’s symbolic of the trend of female empowerment that has taken the entertainment industry by storm in the last few years, something that the movie’s script reflects as well. The plot is largely dependent on the women’s individual ability to outsmart the men in Ocean’s 8. For instance, the ending sees Debbie successfully framing her former lover and double-crosser for the crime that she spearheaded.
Early on when discussing potential recruits with her partner, Lou (Cate Blanchett), Debbie states people usually disregard women and her plan hopes to take advantage of that.
A him gets noticed. A her gets ignored. For once, we want to be ignored.
This not only shows how sharp the Ocean’s 8 women are but also how self-aware the movie is about gender roles and stereotyping. The women in this movie take public perception of femininity and make it work to their advantage. A good example of this is Daphne Kluger’s character. Anne Hathaway very masterfully plays the part of a typical Hollywood actress, whining and random insecure panic attacks included. The audience believes that she is a pawn in the women’s plan, only to find out later on that she had them all figured out.
Ocean’s 8 is flawed at best. Ocean’s 11 is smarter and more intricate as a heist movie. But Ocean’s 8 shouldn’t really be consumed as a heist movie. Because plot holes aside, the chemistry between the ensemble cast is what makes the movie. There is a sincere affection and camaraderie that can be felt through the screen and is what makes the movie work, despite its shortcomings.
It is a celebration of the beautiful dynamics we as women have among each other. We can be funny, smart, mean, dramatic, vengeful, and calculating. We can be anything a man is. And that’s a better message than any great heist could ever make.
It was a nostalgic ride for some, a completely new experience for the rest. Read our review of Incredibles 2.
Featured Image Credit: BBC