An Honest Review Of 'Ocean's 8'

Taylor's got nothing on this #GirlSquad.

It's a sexy, sophisticated caper that's unapologetically, finally female.

The Long Plot, Sans Spoilers

Keeping it in the family: Just like her debonair, slick-talking, fast-acting older brother, Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock), Danny's younger sister, has had a good long stretch in prison to plan the perfect heist. Only this time she's taking the hijinks off the Strip—way off, in fact, to all across the continental United States and right into the heart of New York City's Museum Mile. Instead of the testosterone-dripping, slot-machine-dinging backdrop of a Las Vegas Fight Night, we get the paparazzi-swarmed, fashion-filled annual Costume Institute Benefit, a.k.a. The Met Gala, as the night of the hit… and instead of stacks of Benjamins in attaches, it's a multi-million dollar diamond necklace with a sparkle you can ~most probs~ see from space. Best yet? Instead of a group of career criminal bros moseying off into the sunset, this time it's the women who now get to kick ass, take names and literally cash in on the fun. That's right: Debbie, together with her ex-partner-in-crime Lou (Cate Blanchett) recruit an all-girl, all-star gang to pull off the crime of a lifetime.

The Short, Honest Plot

New York! The Met Gala! Rihanna! Rihanna at the Met Ball—and not dressed as the Pope, but still serving up some whoop-ass! Get ready for that trademark snappy, jazzy, sleight-of-hand Soderbergh signature that we've all come to love with the Ocean's franchise (he still produces, btw) but with more of an East Coast slick. Oh, and a lot more haute couture.

Also, this movie drops the mic on #SquadGoals: Sandra, Cate, Anne, Mindy, RiRi, Helena, Awkwafina, and Sarah ALL. IN. ONE. FRAME. All helping each other out, in their own superhero-specialty-skill way, because you know, #ThereIsNoIinOceanTeamwork.

The Actors And Where You Last Saw Them

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Sandra Bullock as Debbie Ocean

Known as America's Sweetheart and The Girl Next Door, we've seen the Academy Award-winning actress in hit after box office hit since the early 1990s. Her latest nomination for Best Actress came in 2014 for her turn as Dr. Ryan Stone in the critically acclaimed sci-fi hit Gravity—where she, coincidentally, stars with her Ocean's 8 brother George Clooney.

Cate Blanchett as Lou Miller

The ethereal Academy Award-winning Aussie, and elf/human queen extraordinaire, wowed pop culture fans last in 2017's Thor: Ragnarok. She most recently served as the Jury President of the 71st Cannes Film Festival in France.

Anne Hathaway as Daphne Kluger

Genovia! Not only has Anne earned an Academy Award (in 2012 for Les Miserables), she's also got a majorly prolific resume for both theater and TV (she's received an Emmy for voiceover work on Family Guy and The Simpsons!). Find her next in Serenity, opposite Rebel Wilson.

Helena Bonham Carter as Rose Weil

We'll most fondly remember the eccentric actress (and Tim Burton's muse) as The Red Queen and as Bellatrix Lestrange in the last four Harry Potter films, but fans of the quirky, rive gauche Londoner won't have to wait long for her next appearance: She's set to portray Princess Margaret in the next season of Netflix's The Crown.

Mindy Kaling as Amita

Writer, producer, author, and all-around girl crush Mindy Kaling may have been charming us since her small-screen stints on The Office and The Mindy Project, but it was her portrayal of Mrs. Who in 2018's A Wrinkle in Time that's gotten us all excited for her Ocean's 8 big-screen top billing.

Rihanna as Nine Ball

So, have you stocked up on your FENTY Killawat yet? When she's not, oh, basically taking the fashion, beauty, and entertainment worlds by effing storm (she's the most viewed female artist on Vevo/YouTube and is the top-selling digital artist OF ALL TIME), the Queen of All of the Things has also been steadily racking up her silver screen creds. She was most recently seen in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets with Cara Delevigne in 2017.

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Awkwafina as Constance

Fans of the irreverent actress, writer, and rapper might not be surprised to learn that the Queens, New York native—whose debut album included ditties like "NYC Bitche$" and "Yellow Ranger"—was was poised to break through in 2018. Parts in Neighbors 2 with Zac Efron and Netflix's Dude (2018) with Lucy Hale quickly shot her to mainstream recognition. What's next? A Comedy Central series.

Sarah Paulson as Tammy

Whether you love her from her creepy roles in the American Horror Story franchises or admired her docu-chops in The People vs. OJ Simpson: An American Crime Story, there's no genre that the veteran film and TV actress hasn't slayed. You'll get to see more of her in January 2019's Glass with James MacAvoy, Bruce Willis, and Samuel L. Jackson, which is the latest M. Night Shyamalan thriller and sequel to 2000's Unbreakable.

Richard Armitage as Claude Becker

The smolderingly sexy Brit actor is best known to most Stateside audiences for his role as Thorin in The Hobbit trilogy, and perhaps for his story arcs on NBC's Hannibal and MI-5 and Alice Through the Looking Glass.

Did You Know?

  1. Prolific director/screenwriter Gary Ross is no stranger to strong, female-driven movies—he also directed The Hunger Games! For Ocean's 8, he shares writing credits with Olivia Milch, who, in turn, directed the Netflix movie Dude (which also stars Awkwafina). Ross has also done box office hits like Pleasantville, Seabiscuit, and Big.
  2. The movie was shot entirely on location in New York. They had a full, unprecedented 10 days to shoot at The Met, longer than any other production. Steven Soderbergh, director of the first Ocean's trilogy and producer of Ocean's 8, intimates that there was no other way about it. "Gary did a terrific job capturing the life of the city. I can't imagine a better place to set the film… I think this was the perfect call." Sandra reiterates, "New York has an energy all its own… the city doesn't stop when you film a movie there. You just film around it."

    Fun fact: Vogue's very own International Editor-At-Large Hamish Bowles curated the clothes on display in the film's version of the Met Ball, and he was referred by Anna Wintour herself to the production of Ocean's 8. No detail was spared, with Hamish and his team even painstakingly writing the labels for the display, all with accurate information and historical reference as if for the real deal!
  3. They closed down the flagship Cartier Mansion on 52nd Street for two days for filming. The iconic jeweler's Touissaint diamond necklace is the object of the heist, the original of which was designed in 1931 by Jacques Cartier and described as "the finest cascade of colored diamonds in the world." The movie used a close (and colorless) re-creation, but still had to meet Cartier High Jewelry requirements!

    Fun fact: It also needed to be scaled down 20 percent for Anne Hathaway, as the original was crafted for a man, the Maharajah of Nawanagar.
  4. NYC's multi-cultural flavor provides the perfect backdrop for the movie's diverse ensemble cast, with a few who also, coincidentally, share similar roots with their own characters. Awkwafina, who plays a pickpocket from Elmhurst, is originally from Queens. "She is New York to the bone and I am, too. That's one reason I feel a connection to her—I am Constance… you know, minus all the pickpocketing and stealing!" she quips. Rihanna also leans into her Bajan roots big time for her turn as a genius hacker. Mindy Kaling, however, had to learn Hindi for her role!
  5. The cast had their own Cinderella moments for The Met Ball courtesy of renowned costume designer Sarah Edwards, who worked tirelessly (within three weeks!) with the world's top designers to create a unique look for all eight women. And 'cause we know you're all dying to know: Debbie was in Alberta Ferretti; Rose was in Dolce & Gabbana; Amita was in Naeem Khan; Constance was in Jonathan Simkhai; Tammy was in Prada; Nine Ball was in Zac Posen; Daphne was in Valentino; and Lou was in Givenchy. You're welcome!

What I Think:

Sandra Bullock brings her trademark edgy, feline smolder to the fore, and at no point in the movie does her big brother's legacy overshadow her character. In fact, that's what I loved most about the film:

It's not about a man, or how this strong ensemble cast of characters relates with any man; it instead actually focuses on their agency as women and gives them real, unique personalities and quirks, as if, you know, they were independent people, full stop (imagine that).

I love the hip, rock n' roll foil that Cate Blanchett brought to their tandem—she also had my favorite outfits, bar none—and the whole vibe of "women helping women," set against my favorite city in the world during my fave night of the entire year (the Met Gala), really hit home. It was the most fun I've had watching a movie in a long time. It's a sexy, sophisticated caper that's unapologetically, finally female.

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I'd Recommend It To:

  • Those who love the Ocean's franchise or a good, old-fashioned heist film.
  • Those who've always wanted to hang with kuya's barkada but were too young.
  • Those who consider the First Monday of May as your version of the Oscars.

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