Sydney Prosser

Sydney Prosser

    American Hustle
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Grew Up… in a place where, as her lover Irving puts it, “her options were limited.” Sydney has spent her life doing whatever she had to in order to survive, eventually leading to a career as a stripper, and then as a con artist. 

Living… in New York City, where opportunity lurks around every corner. For Sydney, opportunity came in the form of local business owner and conman, Irving Rosenfeld.

Profession… con artist. Sydney and Irving run a fake business called London Associates. She pretends to be an English aristocrat, “Lady Edith Greensly,” in order to convince desperate people that she can be trusted with their money. 

Interests… living an “elegant” life. Sydney longs to rise from her humble roots, and enjoy the kind of security and power that have always been closed to her. A hustler and impersonator, Sydney’s career makes sense considering that her dream, “more than anything, was to become anyone else other than who I was.”

Relationship Status… in love with her partner in crime, Irving. Despite the fact that Irving is crazy about Sydney Prosser, he’s unwilling to end his marriage out of fear that he will no longer be able to see his adopted son, Danny. This is maddening to the reckless and passionate Sydney, whose philosophy on lovers is, “You’re nothing to me until you’re everything.” Irving is unwilling to make her the absolute center of his life, and Sydney is beginning to wonder if another man might be able to give her the commitment she so desperately wants.

Challenge… keeping herself and her partner out of jail. When Sydney and Irving unwittingly ran their con on undercover FBI agent Richie Dimaso, they were caught red handed. With cuffs digging into their wrists, Dimaso offered them a choice: either go to prison, or help him with his “Abscam” sting operation – a sprawling and dangerous operation that aims to expose top members of the mafia as well as corruption amongst US congressmen. With no other option, Sydney and Irving are forced to work with the FBI to try and pull off the biggest hustle of their career.

Personality… sexy and mysterious, Sydney is capable of flitting seamlessly between identities, meaning she can come across in any way that she pleases. She is shameless manipulator, and not above using her sexuality to help her get what she wants. But while she might be able to fool everyone else, she can’t fool herself. Underneath her shifting, unknowable exterior, Sydney is vulnerable and scared that the future can’t possibly live up to her incredible ambition.


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