No one I’ve met loves the movie American Hustle as much I do. If you ask most people what’s their favorite movie, they’ll often say films like Shawshank Redemption. Shawshank Redemption is about an innocent man who goes through unspeakable suffering to break free of the injustice done upon him. That’s relatable based on how people see themselves, as most people see themselves as victims. Our favorite movies are our favorite because they speak to us. While I love Shawshank Redemption, Star Wars, Rocky, Back to the Future and most of the other common movies people say are their favorites, none of them speak to me like American Hustle.

American Hustle is a movie about a thief (played by Christian Bale) who finds a lover that understands and participates in the bad things that he does. They’re both stuck in life and their only way ahead is through breaking rules. They’re smalltime crooks. Some may call them greedy, but I see it as them not wanting to be stuck with their lot in life. Their arch-nemesis is a holier-than-thou FBI agent (played by Bradley Cooper) who sees things in black and white. In reality, at least according to the perspective of the lover thieves, the FBI agent is an asshole who uses morality and the full extent of the law to bully and make small-time crooks do his dangerous biddings.

I love this movie because I myself am not a purely “moral” person. This isn’t to say I’m a bad person, but I do view love and friendship through the lens of loyalty, empathy and understanding. Anyone can be friends with someone who‘s perfect and never gets in trouble. Anyone can defend someone who’s a victim of injustice. It’s why people enjoy movies like Shawshank Redemption and find movies like American Hustle distasteful. My counterargument to this is Shawshank Redemption is what we want the world to be (everything bad happens because of injustice) and American Hustle shows the reality of human nature (we are a little greedy, we aren’t perfect, we break rules to get ahead). Like those lovers in American Hustle, life’s told me I was a nobody too and because of that I don’t think I owe obedience to society. More so, I find real friendship to be protecting someone who’ve done something wrong versus turning them in. Sure, I’ll lecture and scream at them privately, but real friends don’t snitch.

Perhaps relating to a film like American Hustle requires a dash of sociopathic views. I’ve been told by people that I’m a sociopath. It’s an inaccurate assessment, because I would say on some level that we’re all a little sociopathic. We tell white lies; we tweak intentions to cause desired outcomes. I find that to be human, not necessarily wrong. The moralists like Bradley Cooper’s FBI agent however, are the high-ground assholes who fool themselves. I don’t like soapbox-steppers; I’ve met too many like that.

American Hustle feels tailor-made for me. I’m glad a lot of people don’t like it. It’s my suit, my size, my personal fave. Maybe I wouldn’t even have liked it so much if it was popular. I’ve watched the film over twenty times and each viewing makes me say “preach on”. I love its morally-flawed characters, its wry sense of humor, that killer 70’s soundtrack (Steely Dan! Elton John! Wings!). But mostly, knowing that this is my favorite film says more about me than the movie itself. I am someone who sees morality in gray, but it’s because of this gray morality, I’m allowed to do the best for my friends. I call myself trustworthy because I’m the kind of friend who’ll break rules for you. I hate following rules because some rules were designed to hold people down. American Hustle understands this.