A small time con man’s loyalty is torn between his
mother and new girlfriend, who are both grifters.
The Grifters (1990)
Directed by Stephen Frears
Written by Donald E. Westlake
Starring Anjelica Huston, John Cusack, Annette Bening
Based on the novel by Jim Thompson
Oscar Nominations - Best Actress (Anjelica Huston),
Best Supporting Actress (Annette Bening), Best Director,
Best Adapted Screenplay
The Grifters is a very smart film based on the novel of the same name by Jim Thompson. Stephen Frears has directed a bunch of films over the past forty years, but this is the one that has surprised and entertained me the most. I love stories that revolve around gamblers, con men, or any kind of degenerate or lowlife. The Grifters is built for that rush, but the performances are distractingly good.
Lily Dillon is a swindler for an extremely wealthy man named Bobo. She goes to LA for work and looks her son up because she hasn’t seen him in quite some time and he lives there. Roy is his name and he has a game of his own and doesn’t welcome his mother too kindly. His girlfriend, Myra also has a game of her own and Lily doesn’t treat her too kindly. It becomes a triangle of hustling and deceit, causing serious blood to spill.
All three of the main performances are pretty much perfect. John Cusack was meant to play roles like Roy and I know Annette Bening can do it all, but holy shit she is a firecracker of a girlfriend in The Grifters. The best part of the film is Anjelica Huston as Lily. She had me guessing her next move every moment of the film. Lily adapts and conquers her environment and it’s fucking cool to watch. If you like the art of hustling at all, then check out The Grifters.