Go for the names, stay for the clothes (and the acting). Ocean’s Eight connects us with Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock), the sister of the infamous Danny Ocean (George Clooney from the other Ocean’s films), who is also being released from prison. Her cunning smile tells us that Debbie is just as devious as her brother but lacks his playfulness. Debbie’s had 5 years to plan the perfect crime, and what follows is a terrific heist story that involves gathering just the right number of people to participate.
Lou (Cate Blanchett) was Debbie’s previous partner who now tops off her bar’s vodka bottles with water. It doesn’t take much convincing by Debbie to get Lou involved. The plan is to rob the Met Gala, specifically the jewels worn by Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway in her best performance in years), an over-the-top diva/host of the event, AT the Gala. I don’t want to give away anymore of the plot, because watching it unfold and watching them assemble the team (which includes Helena Bonham-Carter, Rhianna, Awkwafina, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, etc.) is worth going into the film cold.
There are small details about each of these women that make them really stand out. They each hold their own in a group of strong personalities.
As the Met Gala is known for its fashion, Ocean’s Eight really makes a case for clothes throughout. All the women, who are trying to avoid being noticed at such a fancy party, are wearing gorgeous clothes and jewels themselves. Helena Bonham-Carter plays Rose Weil, a has-been fashion designer, who is still friends enough with Anna Wintour to get on the list to dress Daphne for the big event. Weil has an Irish accent and a horribly nervous twitch that makes her the weakest link in this whole heist, but it’s watching those kinds of small details that really makes this movie fun.
Similarly, Anne Hathaway does a wonderfully annoying job playing Daphne – almost a send up of how the internet portrayed Hathaway herself during her Oscar season, a diva who is just out for herself. She really leans into this part – which makes her transformation all the more convincing. I’d forgotten how good she could be and how much fun it is to watch her have fun (Devil Wears Prada, Princess Diaries, not Les Mis).
A great addition to the summer film season, Ocean’s Eight is definitely worth checking out. Honestly, I’d watch another – thankfully there are a lot of numbers left to use.