For anyone who has ever wished they could watch Jessica Chastain rattle off Aaron Sorkin dialogue, Molly’s Game is a dream come true. Based on the incredible true story of Molly Bloom (Chastain), a former Olympic-class skier who was arrested for running a high stakes underground poker club.
After a ski disaster left Bloom unable to pursue her athletic career, she began picking up the pieces in LA where she fell into high profile company involved in somewhat questionable things. Namely, high stakes poker games. Smart, and seizing upon opportunity, Bloom eventually became known as the “Poker Princess,” holding underground games involving incredibly high stakes with celebrities and other wealthy gamblers. When her legally ambiguous exploits caught up to her, she found herself arrested and pleading her case in court. This movie is based on her memoir.
Also staring Idris Elba and Kevin Costner.
The combination of Chastain and Sorkin should excite most film fans. One known for writing pithy banter that’s laid down like machine gun fire, and the other for being a dominating presence on screen who likes to spout off biting comments and who always seems like the smartest person in the room. Sorkin writes and makes his directorial debut with Molly’s Game and he and Chastain continue to do what they do best.
As long as a slight overabundance of narrative voice over doesn’t bother you, there is a lot of delightful dialogue for the stars to chew through and you to digest. Captivating not only because of the fact that it is based on a true story, but because of the velvety iron grasp Chastain immediately latches on to the audience with. She is compelling as always, and brings a strong, if underused, supporting cast along with her. We want to know how everything is going to end up playing out – assuredly the end is going to be at least as interesting as how we arrived there.
In a life is stranger than fiction tale, we get to peak behind the curtain into a world that exists, but few ordinary people would even be able to start imagining being a part of. Bloom’s relative rags to riches story about someone who grabbed circumstances by the horns and created something dangerous yet fairy-tale-fabulous with it is part mesmerizing, part inspiring, and part terrifying. It’s an extraordinary tale, and it is told in a way that would have made even a mundane escapade seem like a Tower of London heist. I don’t doubt that we would be even more blown away should some of the real, redacted information come to light, naming those who frequented Chastain’s world of mounds of money flowing around a table like cheap wine. Beware, however, of heavy use of poker lingo.
The heavy reliance on narration, along with a supporting cast that is not fleshed out to there greatest potential holds this movie back a smidge, but Chastain hoists each chapter onto her shoulders and powers right along. This is her show, Bloom’s story, and we’re just here to get her side of what happened that night 17 FBI agents with automatic weapons arrested her in the middle of the night, and the decade of self-made circumstances that led to that moment.
Mrs. Hamster did not screen this film
Brother Hamster did not screen this film
My rating: Five out of five hats
Molly’s Game is dealt to 271 theaters, December 25, and will expand to wide release, January 5