Sonic Cinema

Sounds, Visions and Insights by Brian Skutle

Molly’s Game

Grade : A- Year : 2017 Director : Aaron Sorkin Running Time : 2hr 20min Genre : , ,
Movie review score

Jessica Chastain is one of our finest. There’s really no other way of saying it. The past seven years have been a series of riveting, revelatory performances where she delivers intelligence and vulnerability and confidence every time out. She is a force to be reckoned with, and she is given a script by Aaron Sorkin (the wordsmith behind “The Social Network,” “Moneyball,” “A Few Good Men” and more) where she could be half as good as her normal self, and still be in the Oscar conversation comfortably. Since this is Sorkin’s first time directing, would he be able to make Chastain shine? Is water wet?

This film is based on the memoir by Molly Bloom, and it’s a juicy story. Bloom was a prodigious snow skier growing up, and she could have been an Olympian if she hadn’t tripped up on a qualifying run, ruining her bid for the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. Her two brothers are also child prodigies, and while her parents- and especially, her father (Kevin Costner)- has showered them with praise, she has always had to fight for his respect, and has often picked fights with him in an attempt to get a reaction from him. So, how exactly does all of this lead to Molly becoming a world-famous poker game hostess who gets into legal trouble with the Russian mob? I’m sure as shit not going to tell you here.

The script by Sorkin of Bloom’s memoir is crisp and smart filled with moments for actors like Chastain and Costner and Idris Elba, who plays a lawyer she goes to for representation when the FBI indicts her in a RICO case against the mob, to sink their teeth into, with Chastain, in particular, delivering sterling work as Bloom. You almost wish his direction was as confident, but the truth is, he’s just good enough to know he should let his cast just do what they do, and film it. This would be interesting in the hands of a David Fincher (who directed “Social Network”), for instance, but Sorkin does fine enough in shifting his film back-and-forth through time as we see Bloom’s life unravel to the point where she is standing in front of a judge (Graham Greene), bracing for prison for her crimes. I enjoyed this film, and it’s all the better knowing it’s true, and having one of our most exciting actresses at the center of it.

Leave a Reply