Molly’s Game is the directorial debut of the legendary screenwriter Aaron Sorkin. Along with an all-star cast, Sorkin tackles the true story of Molly Bloom. A woman who lived three complete lives before the time she was thirty.
Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain) was an olympic hopeful. Her overbearing father, Larry (Kevin Kostner), kept Molly at arms reach. In turn Molly always pushed herself to be more, to do more, to be the best. Falling into a crappy job after he skiing career disappeared Molly ended up running poker games for some titans of industry and Hollywood elite.
The movie itself is about Molly after the amazing events of her life crash down around her. Charlie Jaffie (Idris Elba) reluctantly takes on Bloom’s second major court case to defend her character against a brutal inquisition.
Aaron Sorkin has been a long time staple in the writing world of both the big and small screen. Sorkin’s scripts are incredibly well researched, well written, well paced and all boast snappy dialogue. The drawback to Sorkin’s scripts is that every character sends to sound more or less the same. This isn’t really a problem, its not an indication of bad writing, its just his style.
There was some hesitation going into Molly’s Game. Not because of Sorkin’s writing. We know he’s incredible at that. This is Sorkin’s directorial debut. The hesitation wasn’t about the quality of the movie. The talent behind it and the subject matter all but guaranteed it’d be interesting. At a staggering two hours and twenty minutes (staggering for something of a biopic) I was afraid it would become an endurance match.
Sorkin’s directing was fantastic. The editing was as snappy as the dialogue and every character found a unique voice. The story was told in perfect sequential order with just enough narration given to get a feel for the setting and the why and how of it all without being an exposition heavy crutch.
Jessica Chastain never disappoints. Truly playing the Hollywood version of the real Molly Bloom you are in it for the character from the very beginning to the very end. Mistakes and all. The story does seem to be told with a slight amount of bias but not much. For the most part Molly’s story is laid out, warts and all. Despite being at least partially guilty of a few different things the narrative and Chastain’s performance really have you caring.
The story itself is utterly fascinating. The fact that it all went down in our lifetime adds a new layer of intrigue to it. The names of those involved were changed to protect the individuals, kind of the point, but without all the facts the story is still enthralling.
There’s something about movies of gambling and being right on the edge of the law. The money and the glamour is an obvious draw but something about pushing the boundaries to where you could possibly see yourself operating makes the story even more a piece you can relate to.
Expertly written, directed, and acted Molly’s Game is absolutely one to see. There is a lot to cover in the movie but there are a few too many scenes with the father. Kostner does a good job and it is important to know where Molly is coming from; however shaving the run time down a bit could be done without hurting the narrative.