Honor Among Thieves in Ocean’s 8

Courtney Westerhof

Eight truly can be great when it comes to the women in the new Ocean’s film. In Ocean’s 8, Sandra Bullock plays Debbie Ocean, the sister of George Clooney’s character from 2001’s Ocean’s Eleven (itself a remake of a 1960 Frank Sinatra movie). Ocean’s 8 plays appropriate homage to its predecessor, with similarly retro cinematography, editing, and music. But now it’s time for the ladies to attempt the ultimate heist, one that Debbie has been planning in prison for the past five years, eight months, and 12 days.

In the same manner as its predecessors, Ocean’s 8 follows Debbie and her partner Lou (Cate Blanchett) as they assemble a group of con women and thieves to pull off a considerably brazen robbery. This time the target is a $150-million necklace, which will be adorning the neck of actress Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway) as she attends the prestigious Met gala. Ocean’s 8 features a great mix of actresses, showcasing a variety of ages, ethnicities, body types, and talents. Some are Oscar winners (Hathaway, Blanchett, Bullock), others are television stars (Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling), and others are recording artists (Rihanna, Awkwafina). The diversity on screen is a good reminder that there is strength and power in our differences.

Each of the characters has a special skill they bring to the group. Rihanna plays a tech genius, Kaling a jeweler, and Awkwafina a pickpocket. Each of them is vital for Debbie’s plan to work. They also value and support each other. When Helen Bonham Carter’s Rose runs into a snafu during a reconnaissance mission at Cartier, Kaling’s Amita steps in to bail her out. Similarly, Lou supported Debbie when she first came to her with the seemingly crazy idea for this heist. There are no catfights in this group, no drama; only strong women working together to get a job done.

The diversity on screen is a good reminder that there is strength and power in our differences.

As the film proceeds, it creatively blends together scenes of the group plotting together at Lou’s safe house with montages of them off working, both alone and in pairs, on their various parts of the plan. It makes for a good analogy for the ways that we, as the body of Christ, sometimes need to come together and at other times go our separate ways. We need to be together to worship, study Scripture, and pray. Other times we have to be on our own, out in the world, doing the work that God created specifically for us and our individual gifts and talents. Consider Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 12: “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.”

Without giving away too many spoilers I’ll note that Ocean’s 8, like any good heist film, features a plot twist that catches most of the characters off guard. It involves a second plan, one that has been transpiring in the background and kept secret. This reminded me of the overarching plan that God has for our lives as described in Jeremiah 29. It’s difficult when we don’t know God’s plans for us. We make our short-term plans and live day to day, but we never get the full picture of what is in store for our future. Just as the rest of the group has to trust Debbie and her plan, we also have to trust God and his plan. The Heidelberg Catechism testifies to this when it says: “I trust God so much that I do not doubt he will provide whatever I need for body and soul...”

In the end, trusting Debbie’s plan—even the parts they weren’t aware of—meant the group was rewarded beyond their imaginations. We similarly know that we can trust God, because no matter the suffering we experience here on earth our reward will be great in heaven.

Yes, the characters in Ocean’s 8 are thieves. They don’t seem to have taken up their criminal professions as a means for survival. They don’t appear to pass along their profits to help the less fortunate or show any remorse for their actions. They are, nevertheless, an example of what a good community should look like: a supportive family using their God-given talents to work together, while trusting in the wisdom of the one in whom they believe.

Topics: Movies