Molly’s Game (2017)

mollys game poster 2017 movie
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 8/10

Smart script, good cast


Movie Info

Movie Name: Molly’s Game

Studio: STX Entertainment

Genre(s): Drama

Release Date(s):  September 8, 2017 (Toronto International Film Festival)/December 25, 2017 (US)

MPAA Rating: R

mollys game molly bloom skiing accident

This is a bad day at work

Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain) was raised to be a winner.  With her father (Kevin Costner) pushing her, she reached the level of trying out for the Salt Lake City Olympic Ski team in moguls when tragedy strikes.  On her own and seeking direction, she finds it in running high stakes poker games for the rich and elite.  When she is targeted by federal investigators, Molly enlists Charlie Jaffey (Idris Elba) to fight the charges against her…but Molly discovers that the path that led her to court might not be what the prosecutors are after.

Written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, Molly’s Game is a true-crime drama.  Based on the 2014 memoir by Molly Bloom, the film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and received positive reviews.  The movie was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Sometimes it takes a lot for me to watch a “true-crime” type of drama.  I’m not that into gangsters and gambling to me is dull, but I like Jessica Chastain, and the “behind-the-scenes” nature of Molly’s Game was interesting.  Watching the movie, you can notice the strong script and cast, but I have to admit that the movie is long.

mollys game michael cena tobey maguire poker

I’d shoot you with my webs if I was Tobey Maguire…which I’m totally not…or am I?

The story plays out as told by Molly Bloom.  While this means “it is the truth”, Molly has already proven herself to be an unreliable narrator.  Due to certain circumstances and the fact that Molly isn’t just clever but smart, you aren’t sure what she (and most likely her attorneys) might have held on to when consulting for the script.  This becomes an issue within the movie (what does Molly know and when did she know it?), and it can be assumed that we are still seeing an “altered text”.  You can search most of the characters in the story and people have ferreted out their identities, but I still feel that many of Molly’s actions are “edited” for her own sake as she got deeper and deeper.  It is a lot of plausible deniability.

Jessica Chastain is solid as Molly who could easily come off as either a pity-party or unlikeable.  Instead, Chastain portrays her as a smart, intelligent woman who is faced with odds she didn’t foresee and negotiates around them deftly.  Idris is always good, and Kevin Costner works in this type of role (even though he still is Kevin Costner).  Michael Cera plays an evil version of what many see to be as Tobey Maguire (but some also call an amalgam of lots of Hollywood bigwigs).  The movie also has a number of supporting characters including Chris O’Dowd who brings it all crashing down on Molly.

mollys game molly bloom jessica chastain idris elba

Crap…I’m totally taking this case

The movie is shot stylistically.  The idea of cards on camera has been worked and reworked tons of times.  The goal of explaining to non-card players how cards work and not boring card players is difficult, and it feels a lot like the approach The Big Short takes to the housing market…but it still is a hard sell.

Molly’s Game is a definite must for those who like high stakes poker, and it also will satisfy those who like crime thrillers involving the mob (but not heavily).  Tune in for the smart script and the cast, but be prepared to spend some time with the movie, and you’ll also be forced to pay attention to keep up.  Molly plays a mean game but it is worth getting in it.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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