Warning: Minor spoilers ahead for “Ocean’s 8.”
After two years of planning and months of promotion, “Ocean’s 8” has finally hit theaters — and the reviews are a bit mixed. While some critics have praised the movie for creating strong female characters, others have dragged the movie for being “bland” and “trying to hard to be like ‘Ocean’s 11.'”
As a fan of the “Ocean’s” trilogy, I agree with the criticisms. I walked out of the theater feeling less than satisfied with the movie, but I couldn’t figure out why. Eventually, I realized “Ocean’s 8” was tame in comparison to Steven Soderbergh’s trilogy, and not just because it lacked explosions and physical altercations.
As I watched Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) and her team of con artists execute their plan, I kept waiting for something to go wrong: for a stranger to accidentally foil their plan, for someone to make a noise when they were supposed to quiet, for the mark to catch on. But that didn’t happen — at, least not to the extent required of a good heist movie.
Yes, there were a few “hold your breath” moments, like when Rose Weil (Helen Bonham Carter) realizes they need a special magnet to unhook the diamond necklace or a security guard almost walks in on Amita (Mindy Kaling) breaking it apart. But these moments are few and far between, and solved with relative ease.
As a fan of heist movies, particularly the “Ocean’s” franchise, I found this frustrating. But as a 20-something woman in 2018, I found this inspiring.
The lack of slip-ups reminds viewers that women are smarter than society gives them credit for.
Early in the film, Debbie reveals she had been planning her heist for five years, eight months, and 12 days. She would play out the robbery in her head. And every time she was “caught,” she would address the issue and start from the beginning. Eventually, she said she stopped getting “caught.”
This explains why she only needed three weeks to gather a crew and put the plans in motion. It also explains why her heist was executed with near perfection — because she took the time to work through the kinks and come up with a plan B.
The movie also reminds viewers that the more you ignore women, the more destruction they can do.
At one point in the film, Lou and Debbie were looking for another person to add to their crew. Lou flips through the photo resumes of several men before Debbie stops her with these words of wisdom: “A him gets noticed. A her gets ignored. For once, we want to be ignored.”
During the heist, these women are ignored by security guards, waiters, even the mark Daphne Kluger. As a result, they’re able to cause chaos at the Met and steal hundreds of millions of dollars. And, as an added bonus, Debbie got revenge on the man who conned her and sent her to jail.
Unfortunately, ignoring women is not just the plot of a movie — it’s a real thing that has happened every day for years.
The government ignored women’s pleas to vote for years, until hundreds of them raised their voices and demanded it. That’s how women were granted the right to vote in the 1920s.
Hollywood ignored women’s claims that they were being sexually harassed and sexually discriminated against, until hundreds shared their stories of harassment and discrimination with the world. That’s how the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements began.
Women don’t want to be ignored. Women want to be heard, respected, and treated fairly. And sometimes to make that happen, they have to come together and raise their voices loud enough so they can’t be ignored any more. That, or steal some diamonds.
For some reason, I think society would prefer the former.
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