Molly’s Game Review

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Molly’s Game has all the qualities of a great poker film, but that’s not all that this film has to offer. Aaron Sorkin’s scriptwriting shines through in every dialogue, and lead Jessica Chastain plays Molly Bloom with a convincing style and finesse, leaving the audience hanging on her every silky-smooth word. It’s not without its flaws, but Molly’s Game succeeds in telling the gripping true story of a poker princess whose ambition exceeds all.

Jessica Chastain plays Molly while Idris Elba plays her attorney Charlie Jaffrey.

Source: Molly’s Game Review, The Verge

Molly’s Game is a certificate 15 and has a 140-minute running time. It was first shown on December 25th in the USA.

Jessica Chastain Plays Mary Bloom in Aaron Sorkin’s Directorial Debut

Molly’s Game is highly anticipated, not only for its all-star cast but also as Aaron Sorkin’s first time behind the camera. Sorkin is well known in the media world, both for his contributions to TV shows like Sports Night and The West Wing and for his screenwriting in films like A Few Good Men, Steve Jobs, Money Ball and The Social Media, which won Sorkin an Academy Award. He adapts the true story of disgraced poker princess Molly Bloom from her own memoirs and brings the action to life on the big screen with a deep and fantastic vibe.

The perfect actress to play the lead role? Jessica Chastain. Jessica Chastain is more than well-suited to the role of Molly. She plays tough and intelligent women almost by default, and her star performance in Molly’s Game is one of the highlights of the film. Her presence is apparent throughout, even among the elite of Hollywood with whom she hosts her poker games.

Idris Elba plays a significant role as Molly’s attorney Charlie Jaffrey. Molly finds a verbal sparring partner in Jaffrey, and the discussions and flared arguments between the two make for some of the best and most emotionally involving moments in the film. It’s clear that Sorkin got the casting right!

Poker Parties and Crime Bosses

Molly’s Game follows the rise and fall of Molly’s career in the world of underground poker. The heroine goes from humble barmaid to rubbing shoulders with crime bosses and celebrities, all in a matter of months. Her story is incredible, and it’s an autobiographical account of a real person who carved this twisted yet elegant world for herself.

But the plot runs much thicker. Molly was a former freestyle skier who hoped to compete in the Olympics. Her career was cut short. She was introduced to the shady world of poker by her employer. The young barmaid suddenly finds herself hosting backroom poker games to the world’s super-rich and powerful — businessmen, celebs and mobsters, and she finds that this is a game she plays well.

This is not an easygoing online poker session. Molly is not a pro who honed her skills on sites like 888 Poker or in live tournaments. She is a cold and fast-talking businesswoman who knows how to make the rich hungry. Molly makes herself the image of unattainable luxury and uses her beauty and intellect to succeed in a world dominated by the male ego.

We get flashbacks to Molly’s childhood; a backstory of her forceful and overbearing father. We watch Molly run poker games in Los Angeles and then in New York. We see her dealing with federal charges and refusing to sellout her criminal clientele list and databases. The powerful trust Molly to keep secrets; it’s one of the reasons she is at the top of her game.

The lengthy dialogues between Molly and her attorney are some of the best in the film. Sometimes, we get monologues, as if we are being read a bedtime story — there’s a lot going on with Molly’s Game. It’s all good, but it can also seem a bit much at times.

Jessica Chastain plays a strong female lead role in an industry that is still male-dominated.

Source: Gender Inequality in Film, NYFA.edu

How much is too much?

Molly’s Game has received favorable reviews from critics and general audiences, with an 82 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and 7.5/10 on IMDb. The film has been given warm compliments for the screenwriting and witty dialogues, though Sorkin’s approach, while genius most of the time, has also been highlighted as one of the film’s significant flaws.

Molly’s Game is word intense. It could win an award for the most dialogue in the first five minutes. It often gives the audience 10-minute long monologues, and you can almost feel Sorkin sat at his keyboard typing away. This is not comfort TV. This is a film that could be a book. You could probably watch it with your eyes closed and not lose too much meaning. For those who see cinema primarily as a visual medium, Molly’s Game may let you down.

Molly’s Game can lose its momentum from time to time. The constant flashbacks and the jumping between scenes are not so much confusing as they are a bit slow and frustrating. Could Sorkin have left out half an hour’s backstory on Molly’s relationship with her father? Probably. Would it have made much difference to the film? Probably not. With so much going on, we are often forced to take long breaks from the action at the tables and in the courts.

Thankfully, this dialogue-intense adventure into the world of Texas Hold ‘Em madness is made accessible by Jessica Chastain’s performance and effortless delivery and cemented by support from Idris Elba and other great actors. Molly’s Game isn’t perfect in every way, just like all great films have their rights and wrongs.

Sorkin is a screenwriter. His scripts for Molly’s Game are excellent. He holds the narrative together by weaving sound and images like a master, but still, his directorial style leaves something to be desired. All in all, Molly’s Game succeeds in being more than just a poker film. It’s an exciting account of a real story brought to life in a captivating way. Molly’s Game won’t be to everyone’s taste, but fans of Sorkin, Chastain or of dialogue-driven films will revel in its creation.

Molly’s Game is out now on the big screen.

Source: YouTube

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