Let me introduce you to Molly Bloom in case you don’t know who she is and why the film Molly’s Game is worth watching. She was known as the Poker Princess, who ran the most exclusive high-end poker game in LA and New York for the better part of 10 years. This film, starring Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba tells her story from the beginning days of running the poker game to being arrested by the FBI in connection with the Russian Mob. And it’s a film written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, which as you know has a flair for writing perfect dialogue. If you don’t know much about her then the movie is worth watching to see why her story is so fascinating and if you put that together with great performances then you have a winning formula for a great movie.
The movie isn’t perfect, but it is highly entertaining and Jessica Chastain and you’ll Ildris Elba are at the top of their game. The story is told through flashbacks of how Molly Bloom got started running the poker game after a knee injury ended her Olympic skiing career. She’s basically telling this story to her lawyer, which is perfect for this kind of film. Because only Molly Bloom can truly narrate her story and that’s what Sorkin does so brilliantly with his flashy and fast-paced dialogue. This is a fantastic directorial debut for Aaron Sorkin because her story seems too good to be true with his flair for dialogue and the way Jessica Chastain shares Molly Bloom’s life, the film will keep you on the edge of your seat despite the story already being interesting enough. I feel like in a lot of ways this story was tailor-made for somebody like Aaron Sorkin when you have a match-made-in-heaven between director and film, you know that the film is going to be good.
As much as I do like this film, there are a few issues with it. Most of the flashbacks keep the I’m flowing very well, but there are some lulls that do cause the film to drag a little bit. I feel like it could have been cut down by 15 minutes to make it flow a little bit better. It might seem a minor complaint, but let’s face it, when we go to the movies, we don’t want feel like the movie is too long. We want the time to fly by with excitement and intrigue. My other complaint is Michael Cera in the film. As funny as he can be, serious roles are not really his forte in my opinion. While he’s trying to portray a high-end poker player with the coolness and skill of James Bond. He really just comes off as some insecure creepy villain that doesn’t belong in the same room as other high stakes poker players. It’s true that no actors want to be Typecast, but if you’re good with a certain kind of acting then stick with it and for him, comedy is the way to go.
Overall, Molly’s game is a highly entertaining film with an interesting story mixed in. What makes this film good is the performances of Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba. Jessica Chastain seems to have been born for this role and after seeing her in Miss Sloane, it looks like she was the easy choice to play Molly Bloom. Even Kevin Costner has a bit of a heartwarming performance especially towards the end. Fascinating as it is to hear about the high-end poker game that she created with all the celebrities and Rich Moguls that played in it, which more or less seen fodder for tabloids, the brilliance of the film is really explaining her reasons why she did what she did and why she would not give anybody up to the FBI. Molly’s game is like a fantastic and witty conversation that keeps your attention for two hours especially when it’s too easy for people to get bored.
I also feel like this is a film that you will have to watch more than once to really pick up on the entire conversation throughout the film. Anytime I go back and watch The West Wing or The Newsroom I’m always finding something new in the conversation and I think that’s part of Aaron Sorkin’s genius when it comes to writing. While this film is not perfect, for a directorial debut, Sorkin hits it out of the park and most of that is due to the great performances in the movie. This movie is not at all unforgettable any more than The Social Network was since he wrote the screenplay for that film because the subject matter is that interesting. I highly recommend this film throughout the holidays and its certainly not just a one-timer.