Based on the memoir, Molly's Game: From Hollywood Elite to Wall Street's Billionaire Boys Club, My High-Stakes Adventure in the World of Underground Poker by Molly Bloom, “Molly's Game” is a smart, thrilling, and well-acted crime drama now playing in theaters. Marking his directorial debut, the film is written and directed by Aaron Sorkin with stars Jessica Chastain as Molly Bloom, along with Idris Elba, Michael Cera, Chris O'Dowd, and Kevin Costner.
At a young age, Molly Bloom was smart, ambitious, and a solid athlete, but her dreams of becoming an Olympian were cut short when she suffered a major injury during skiing qualifiers. After taking a year off from college to work at a bar in Los Angeles, Molly was given a job as a secretary, and before long, her boss had her assisting with his weekly poker tournament. Being good at numbers and quite the people person, Molly thrived and began making some substantial tip money from poker night alone. Eventually, Molly and her boss had a falling out, and she was cut out of the game altogether.
With looks, brains and charm, Molly set herself on an upward path in the world of high-stakes poker. Having learned a lot already, Molly began to host her own underground game in LA, where she would cater to celebrities, athletes, businessman and more. After much success, one of the major players had her cut from the game once again, and she was forced to move to New York to start over. She would go on to host another game, which would land her in hot water with the Russian mob, and soon after, a target of the FBI.
Throughout her entire ordeal, Molly was offered multiple deals from the government to give up certain people involved, but in order to maintain her good name, she refused to name any names except for a select few who were already known to the FBI through a separate deposition. For the longest time, Molly only accepted tips, but after a while, she was talked into taking a cut of the game, thus violating the law.
The movie features A-list actors like Chastain and Elba, along with strong supporting and known actors such as Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, Chris O'Dowd, and Jeremy Strong, to name a few. Chastain delivers a potentially award-winning performance as the intelligent and glamorous Molly Bloom. Her character lights up the big screen as she dazzles and schmoozes her clients on the way to the top. Chastain brings wit and sassiness to Molly Bloom and captures the audience with her high energy. Bottom line, not only does she entertain, but Sorkin's storytelling helps you like the con-hustling person she portrays.
Elba, who has great chemistry with Chastain, excellently plays her lawyer as smart and a champion for Molly. Michael Cera's role is an interesting one as well, as he fills the role of “Player X”, a character who is based on a combination of real life people, such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Ben Affleck, and other celebrities who took part in the poker game. Costner plays a minor role as Molly's dad, but creates the psychological background and understanding behind her male relationships of dominance in her life and her desire to compete and win at any game.
“Molly's Game” tells a fascinating true story of an extremely smart woman's experience running the world's most exclusive high-stakes poker game. The film uses various poker related lingo, which should intrigue fans of the card game, and there is a fair level of comic relief as well. The fast-paced dialogue and savvy banter is quite enjoyable especially in scenes with Molly and her lawyer. The timeline throughout the movie is a bit scattered as it simultaneously goes back and forth between past and present, but this becomes clearer as it goes on. All in all, “Molly's Game” is a well-crafted film with solid acting and a truly compelling narrative.
The film is already receiving multiple award nominations, such as Best Actress and Best Screenplay at the Critics Choice Movie Awards and the Golden Globes. This film was released in limited theaters on December 25th, with a wide release on January 5th, 2018.
4 out of 5 stars.
“Molly's Game” is rated R for language, drug content and some violence. Running time is 2 hours and 20 minutes.