Ocean’s 8 is not a perfect movie, but there’s a reason it feels so good to watch. Being a woman at this particular moment (actually, probably ever) feels a little like Ocean’s 1: You’re On Your Own and Won’t Get Shit, Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha. On your own dime, at your own leisure, you can certainly kit up in a gorgeous velvet suit, à la Cate Blanchett’s Lou; you can partake in culture as a consumer, and perhaps even as a creator (hi, fashion designer Rose Weil, a.k.a. Helena Bonham Carter, and Anne Hathaway’s self-referential, underestimated actress avatar, Daphne Kluger); you can spend your time trying to figure out how to flip the system (in the internet’s ether, if you’re Rihanna’s Nine-Ball, or brazenly, per Sandra Bullock’s Debbie Ocean and Awkwafina’s Constance). Or maybe you actually have turned a tiny, valuable part of the system into your own personal domain (take a bow, Tammy/Sarah Paulson; take my money, Mindy Kaling’s jeweler Amita).

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But make no mistake: You have no support from the patriarchy or its attendant structures, and don’t you forget about it. Ocean’s Approx. 165 Million: This Time, The Women Are Winning? A total non-starter.

Warner Bros.

If sisters are going to get theirs, they have to do it for themselves. Hence, this summer’s blockbuster gal-heist: Debbie, scion of a scammer family, sister to Danny, spent eight years in prison planning the perfect crime—plucking a gigantic Cartier diamond necklace off an actress’ swanlike neck at the Met Gala—down to every security-defying detail. Released from her chains, she immediately worms her way into an impeccable wardrobe, designer fragrances, and a hotel suite. (I thought the Anna Delvey movie wasn’t out yet?)

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The true jaunt, though, is when she gets the gang together. Typically, heist movies feature one (1) woman—maybe two at a stretch, if you count the sadly sexy girl next door or the guilt-inducing mom. In Ocean’s 8, though, the titular crew is women members only. Apart from an early obligatory note about the unusual gender balance of the team—”A him gets noticed, a her gets ignored. And for once, we’d like to be ignored,” Debbie quips, efficiently—the film is pretty quiet on the subject of girl power. Thank goodness! Women have been trying to argue that they can do anything a man can do for a long time, and nobody’s listening anyway, so why get into that old pit again?

Ocean's 8

Warner Bros.

Instead, the film commits to feelgood vibrations of the kind you get when going into a cat café. You know the world isn’t really like that, but you’ll pay real money to pretend it is for a couple of hours. Ocean’s 8 ranges the whole of New York City, including revered venues like The Met, giant loft apartments, and a food truck, as Debbie makes like Ash Ketchum and catches all her experts. These aren’t Weedles we’re talking about, okay? Rihanna was born a Rayquaza. The pleasure of watching this summer fantasy is the one of a woman being able to pick the other women she wants to work with, with no drama, and no dudes being like, “But what about Randy, his sales are finally up this quarter?”

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Critics haven’t seemed too impressed by the concept and execution of the film’s heist element, describing it as less high-stakes and more connect-the-dots than its predecessors. And it’s true; I feel like even I could have been a support act on this criminal tour. That’s kind of on point for the cultural mood, all the same. A movie showing a group of cool, well-dressed, cooperative women being defeated? Not even Hollywood could read the room so wrong in 2018.

If you think my bar for “women and entertainment” has been lowered—thanks to the low expectations I have developed, courtesy of the data of human interaction—you are correct! As long as a woman doesn’t get ignored, hurt, unnecessarily devalued, or used, I’m conditioned to feel like that’s a win. That’s a structural problem Ocean’s 8 is unequipped to deal with. All the movie has to do is make me feel good inside.

As long as a woman doesn’t get ignored, hurt, unnecessarily devalued, or used, I’m conditioned to feel like that’s a win.

Thank goodness Cate Blanchett looks so good in suits. Where’s Awkwafina going on her skateboard? I want to go to there. Give praise for Rihanna’s all-powerful charisma; all blessings to Sarah Paulson’s nutty energy; an Oscar for Anne Hathaway, tbh. Each of the eight turns being a cog into crowing like the goddamn clock’s cuckoo. Who cares how they take the Toussaint off Daphne Kluger’s neck? That’s the gag. The real pleasure of this movie is a little meta—not only can one thrill in the spectacle of eight fictional women getting away with Grand Theft Diamondo, but we’re also watching top-tier actresses delighting in a task that feels almost as audacious: plying their trade alongside a cornucopia of talented peers who are, intentionally, not men.

Logistics, schmogistics. Heist be damned. Show me Debbie feeding Lou again. Give me the family sitcom in which Nine-Ball—sorry, I mean Leslie—gets lovingly dunked on by her little sister despite being one of the most beautiful women in the world. Don’t forget that, apart from Debbie, they’re not chasing after any dudes, either. It’s all about the money here, although it kind of isn’t; it’s more about the freedom all that cash gets you. (One scene in which Lou leatherily rides a motorbike into the distance is basically porn.)

Ocean's 8

Warner Bros.

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Not that I’m giving Debbie and co. a free pass. Seeing women have uncomplicated fun on screen is such a rare occurrence that the best recent example of women taking the cake, eating it too—and reinventing the cake, and then eating that one also—requires a hop to the small screen, for BBC America’s Killing Eve. Getting Sandra Oh back on TV is enough to get me personally through to 2019; she’s as unceasingly magnetic as you’d expect, playing the role of the titular MI5 agent.

Killing Eve Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh

BBC America

In addition, some wizard cast Jodie Comer as her antagonist, the psychopathic contract killer Villanelle, and the alchemy produces something better than gold. It’s a primo crime drama—tension, mystery, widening webs of intrigue, a snappy script penned by Fleabag‘s Phoebe Waller-Bridge, all present—but it’s really Oh and Comer’s dynamically high-wire tandem act that makes it a dazzler. While Villanelle and Eve might (kind of) want to kill each other, the virtuosic performances of the two lead actresses sing with the magnetism of two experts reveling in quality material. It’s impossible to get to the finale and not wish for more just like it.

Men have gotten to do this forever. Late-night television, improv, sports, all those heist movies: Take your pick of avenues if you want to watch men horsing around with not a woman in sight. But Women Doing Whatever The Fuck They Want in 2018 (apart from supporting the president, obviously) is a big mood. We don’t get to see it enough. The world outside is bullshit and many of us sure can’t see it out there. And that makes even the most benign, idealized, prettified, and flawed version of it, tied up in an eight-A-list-actress bow, feel like a special event.



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