Molly's Game (2017) Review

Molly’s Game (2017) Review

Don't Fold 'Em

Studio: STXfilms
Score: 9/10

It’s taken me a little while to come around to Aaron Sorkin. His fast-paced, sometimes cartoonish characterizations are hit or miss, especially when he doesn’t have existing source material to ground him. But after years of putting in work, he’s finally been given his directorial debut in Molly’s Game, and I don’t think there’s a better man for this particular job.

Molly's Game (2017) Review 1
Chris O’Dowd and Jessica Chastain in Molly’s Game (2017) – image for this review provided by STX Films.

The story of Molly Bloom sells itself. As a former skier who was brutally injured, Molly pivots her charisma into another medium — running poker games. After excelling at bottle service in an LA Club in an attempt to start her life over, she’s picked up by a client that is involved in the underground world of poker, and it’s off to the races.

Sorkin’s flair for the dramatic absolutely works here, as we’re constantly at odds with the story Molly is telling us and what actually happened, a sort of meta-effect that works both in and outside of the film, itself based on a true story. Molly goes from a low key bookkeeper to a pit boss, running an entire crew in an attempt to keep it above board, and we get to see nearly every step of the way. Soon we get the idea that she’s in over her head, and Chastain is plenty good at eliciting empathy for a character that others wouldn’t quite pull off.

The film cycles through myriad cast members, all of which are captivating in their own way, as Molly learns to come to terms with her new career and some of the shade and despair that goes along with it. Through brilliant uses of lighting and costuming Sorkin’s world comes to life, as Chastain uses all of the tools the project has given her to deliver one of the best performances of her career. Idris Elba is a formidable foil, but again, everyone in the production brings their own unique talents to the table.

Molly's Game (2017) Review 2
Idris Elba and Jessica Chastain in Molly’s Game (2017) – image for this review provided by STX Films.

Molly’s Game is a rollercoaster that’s half-wooden, creaky and unpredictable, and part hardened deliberate steel. It’s something that very few minds can actually take from paper to film.


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9
Sorkin’s directorial debut manages to keep us as engaged, coupled with a fiery script.
Molly's Game (2017) Review 2

Molly's Game

Director(s): Aaron Sorkin
Cast: Jessica Chastain, Kevin Costner, Idris Elba
Studio: STXfilms
Rating: R
Running Time: 2 hours, 20 Minutes