“Molly’s Game” In Theaters Christmas Day
Aaron Sorkin makes his directorial debut with “Molly’s Game”, based on the book “Molly’s Game”.
MOLLY’S GAME is based on the true story of Molly Bloom (played by Jessica Chastain), a young, charismatic Olympic-hopeful skier who was forced to abandon athletics after a devastating injury. With law school on hold, Molly takes a summer job that introduces her to a new endeavor requiring similar discipline and drive: running the world’s most exclusive high-stakes underground poker game. The deep pockets of Hollywood royalty, sports stars and business titans give her a decade of glitzy, glamorous success, but Molly attracts the wrong kind of attention when she inadvertently engages members of the Russian mob at her table. Her streak comes to a grinding halt when she’s arrested in the middle of the night by 17 FBI agents wielding automatic weapons. Facing criminal charges, her only ally is her reluctant defense lawyer (Idris Elba), who discovers that there’s much more to Molly Bloom than the salacious tabloid stories reveal.
The film starts with Molly getting arrested by the FBI and as the movie transitions between flashbacks we see how Molly ended up running one the most private and sought after poker games in Los Angeles and New York. I did not know anything about Molly Bloom and her story, but fifteen minutes or less into the movie I wanted to know more and for me, Mr. Sorkin delivered a story that played like a high stakes thriller. But for Molly Bloom it was that and more; it was her life. Watching Molly get drawn into a world filled with power and ego was simply fascinating and Jessica did the role justice. We really see the layers behind her actions and the psychology that pushes her unconscious desires. There is a powerful scene between Molly and her father played by Kevin Costner, where he sums up her problems in three questions that would normally take three years of therapy. No spoiler alerts here!
“Molly’s Game” also resonates with today’s headlines for women who have to deal with abusive work environments and subject to male dominance over their livelihood. When Molly goes to work for Dean Smith (played by Jeremy Strong) he clearly shows his disrespect for her as a woman which becomes clearer when he realizes that Molly’s presence may threaten his power and control in the game.
“Molly’s Game” works because Sorkin makes you care about the characters and each one matter in every aspect of the story. Charlie Jaffey, Molly’s lawyer (played by Idris Elba) is also learning about Molly along with the audience as he digs deeper into her personality.
She’s been dubbed the Poker Princess by the tabloids, and Charlie thinks she’s been actively seeking the publicity for her own gain. “I saw an opportunity to create a character who was asking a lot of the same questions of her that I was asking,” Sorkin explains. “For example, why was she arrested in the middle of the night by FBI agents wielding automatic weapons as if she were a dangerous person?” Although Charlie is a fictional version of her lawyer, Sorkin notes that “Molly did have a criminal defense lawyer, and when she talks about him, it’s with great respect, reverence, and affection. Molly even said he was really the first man she’d met who was honorable.”
“Molly’s Game” brings up questions of loyalty, the need for acceptance and the addiction to power. But most importantly what would you give up to protect your name, which according to Molly is the one thing she has that is all hers.
MOLLY’S GAME, screenplay by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Aaron Sorkin. The film stars Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, Jeremy Strong, Chris O’Dowd opens in theaters Christmas Day, December 25th, 2017.