Based on true events, Molly’s Game charts the story of Molly Bloom, the person who ran the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game out of hotels in Los Angeles and New York. Her clients include famous movie stars, athletes, businessmen and, unfortunately, the Russian mob.
There are two main attractions of Molly’s Game; the first one is Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay. The man behind The West Wing, News Room and The Social Network supplies a film that is crackling with energy and wit. It is also Sorkin’s directorial debut. This is not meant as an insult as Sorkin does a tremendous job as a first time director, but it is clear that Sorkin is borrowing from the other directors that he has worked with like, David Fincher and Danny Boyle. Both these directors have a flair for style and are able to handle Sorkin’s dense dialogue with relative ease. There is also something slightly Oceans 11 about the whole affair, that same exposition/fact heavy dialogue telling you the story as it unfolds. This is a film that despite its long runtime doesn’t drag, at least not until the end.
This is thanks to the second attraction, Jessica Chastain as Molly Bloom. Chastain makes this film her own with Molly, a no-nonsense person full of character and sharp edges that bounce off the other characters in very interesting and entertaining ways: Idris Elba doing the straight man role as Molly’s lawyer Charlie Jaffey, providing a more moral core to proceedings; then, on the other side, you have Michael Cera as Player X who is on fire as a massive, hateable arse.
The fatal flaw of Molly’s Game is the end. It falls flat regarding tone and emotional catharsis. The film tries to go for a sentimental ending, which comes completely out of left field after the sharp and punchy strong we had up until that point. Molly has been hard as nails, a realist, but in the last few minutes of the movie that is swept under the rug by something utterly trite and Hollywood. This is where Molly’s Game lost me; the film lost its emotional cohesion and then it devalued its main character by taking away her big moments and giving them to her father and her lawyer.
Apart from the flat ending, Molly’s Game is a solid film and one that demands a second watch for the sharp writing and the even sharper central performance from Jessica Chastain.
You can watch Molly’s Game in cinema’s now