Somewhere near the end of Ocean’s 8, I choked up a little. Surprised and a little embarrassed by my tears, I stayed in my seat as the credits rolled and the theater cleared out.
It took me a minute to compose myself when the movie was over, and another for me to assess why, exactly, I was moved by a heist flick. Usually, action + fashion + slick moves = box office dollars, and not much in the way of an emotional journey. However, Ocean’s 8 features an almost all-female cast. James Corden offers some comic relief, and Richard Armitage plays another hapless dude, but he’s mostly eye candy. The rest of the time, though, we get to watch tigresses prowl the screen. And it’s so damn satisfying.
Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett anchor a cast of eight fierce female criminals out to commit the greatest heist of the Ocean’s franchise yet. The previous incarnations of the Ocean’s gang (led by George Clooney as smooth criminal Danny Ocean in the Ocean’s trilogy) are paid homage to, and then quickly set aside. Sandra Bullock, as Danny’s slick sister Debbie Ocean, has just gotten out of prison, and she’s got some scores to settle.
The film unfolds like a mink coat dropping off the shoulders of a Hollywood starlet: lusciously and tantalizingly—and while you don’t want it to end, you can’t wait to see what’s underneath. The cast of Ocean’s 8 has a fantastic time teasing out the quirks of their respective characters. Bullock is the mastermind in charge of a gorgeous bunch of good-hearted crooks, including Mindy Kaling, Awkwafina, Helena Bonham Carter, Sarah Paulson, Anne Hathaway—and Rihanna.
Honestly, Rihanna’s performance in Ocean’s 8 is largely responsible for my misty eyes in the movie theater.
Yes, she’s so scorchingly beautiful that I want to cry about it, but beyond that, she enjoys her screen time in such a way that it makes you feel good about watching her. Evidently, RiRi and Ocean’s director Gary Ross came up with her character Nine Ball, a weed-smoking Barbadian computer hacker, when they were spitballing backstage after a 2016 concert of hers in Sweden. No doubt that conversation was enhanced by some of that good-good.
We all know Rihanna loves to smoke weed, and she doesn’t disappoint in Ocean’s 8. As Nine Ball, Rihanna puffs tough from the get-go. Her fat blunts haze up the screen as she expertly hacks into the Met Museum security system. She gets shit done while high as hell, and her weed intake is never an issue. When Nine Ball lights up after pulling off some big moves, she’s blazing just like James Bond swills his martini: it’s a well-deserved power move.
There are many other reasons that Ocean’s 8 made me feel great about giving it my dollars in the theater (go see it on the big screen!), but, for real: Rihanna smoking fatties and running the show as a character she based on herself and her own life was the best part. Oh, and Hollywood? Make more movies with all-female casts that are about women kicking ass while smoking weed. We are here. For. It.