I have nothing clever or prolonged to say about this. It’s based on true events that I’m not aware of and it stars Jessica Chastain, whom I am a huge fan of. That’s honestly it. I got nothin’.
The story looks like it’s about this woman who starts a underground casino, but it’s not illegal and it attracts the attention of both high profile, wealthy and influential people, as well as the authorities who want to shut her down, but don’t really have the means to do so yet.
Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Jessica Chastain (THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE , and upcoming films DARK PHOENIX  and GEORGE AND TAMMY ) and Idris Elba (THOR: RAGNAROK , and upcoming TV show THE DARK TOWER ).
In support, we have Kevin Costner (HIDDEN FIGURES  and MAN OF STEEL ), Michael Cera (HOW TO BE A LATIN LOVER ), Brian d’Arcy James (MARK FELT , SISTERS , and upcoming films ALL THESE SMALL MOMENTS  and FIRST MAN ), Graham Greene (WIND RIVER , and upcoming films that I am convinced are the same film, DEFINING MOMENTS  and THE PERFORMANCE ), and Chris O’Dowd (THOR: THE DARK WORLD , and upcoming films JULIET, NAKED  and THE CLOVERFIELD PARADOX ).
Now for the crew. Writing and directing is Aaron Sorkin. He’s making his directorial debut, but he’s written THE SOCIAL NETWORK (2010), A FEW GOOD MEN (1992), and will be returning to write the TV live-stage broadcast movie, A FEW GOOD MEN (2018). Composing the score is Daniel Pemberton, known for ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD (2017), THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. (2015), and the upcoming OCEAN’S 8 (2018). The cinematographer is Charlotte Bruus Christensen, known for FENCES (2016), and the upcoming A QUIET PLACE (2018). Finally, there is a grand total of three editors, Alan Baumgarten (JOY , ZOMBIELAND , and the upcoming CLOVERFIELD PARADOX), Elliot Graham (X2: X-MEN UNITED ), and Josh Schaeffer (6 episodes of ENLISTED , 6 episodes of DON’T TRUST THE B—- IN APARTMENT 23 [2012 – 2013], and the upcoming film PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING ).
Overall, I want this to be good. I really do. Something’s telling me I’ll like it enough. How can I not, what with the star power?
This is my honest rating for: MOLLY’S GAME
Once upon a time, Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain) was an Olympic skier, but an injury ended her career and twelve years later, got into the intense and cutthroat world of underground poker. Started out doing things legally and by the books, but her bad decisions eventually led to a bad reputation and two years later is part of a mass arrest of gamblers and such, but Molly is innocent of the accusations. With the help of her lawyer Charlie (Idris Elba), they try to clear her name.
I really liked it. Not that I’m a gambler, by any means, nor do I always understand what the hell any of the characters were talking about, but it was a highly entertaining movie.
More than anything, I sort of think of this in the same playing field as MISS SLOANE (2016), although instead of politics, it’s about gambling, with an undercurrent of a legal drama. But if you were to ever get me even remotely interested in boring subjects like that, I suppose the best way to sell it and get me to pay attention is to put Chastain front and center and boy howdy does it work. As per usual, she brings her A-game. Molly is fierce, temperamental, sexy, resourceful, beyond intelligent and a quick learner to boot, and has an unshakable determination to keep secrets and get creative in proving her innocence. She owns this movie and I challenge anyone to argue with me. Plus, I love that line, “Whoever said the worst thing is coming 4th in the Olympics… fuck you.” Elba does a great job as well, probably Cera’s best performance since JUNO, arguably his entire career, and I know I might be in the minority on this, but I also really liked Costner as Molly’s dad. There are some intense, powerhouse acting and it’s about as engaging as it gets, which carries the film beautifully.
Like I said, I didn’t always know what the hell Molly was talking about, and unless the movie was planning to draw pictures with crayons, I doubt this was subject matter that my brain was ever going to properly process. Having said that, as confused as I may have been, I was enjoying what I was watching during the poker scenes and didn’t know how events were going to unfold.
Also, quick cameos from Joe Keery, who plays Steve Harrington from TV show STRANGER THINGS will get a few people giddy with happiness, but I lost my shit when I briefly saw Rachel Skarsten from TV show BIRDS OF PREY, who played Dinah Lance. If you don’t know that show… I don’t blame you. It’s admittedly a guilty pleasure for me, but any time I see Ashley Scott, Dina Meyer, or Skarsten, I get an urge to watch the show again. I’m probably going to write about this someday soon. In any case, immediate brownie points.
According to my notes, I think my only real issue with the flick is that when the movie tries to make a point, it takes A LONG TIME to get to it. Not that these moments aren’t padded with interesting scenes to drive them along, but if you drive two hours in traffic listening to your favorite music, you’re still stuck in traffic for two hours and that weighs heavily on your senses… and your butt, but that’s a different story entirely.
Overall, can’t say I love this movie, but I love Chastain and her energy holds my interest in a subject matter that doesn’t necessarily speak to me. The acting is great, the poker scenes are great, and the emotions and drama all hit home well enough. I recommend it as a matinee showing in theaters, or at a discount cinema, or a very strong recommendation as a rental. Although if you’re a fan of poker, then you’ll likely see this whenever you’ve got the time. It’s a really good watch. Get your chips to the table and get dealed in. You won’t regret it.
My honest rating for MOLLY’S GAME: 4/5
PS: If you’re interested in the details that the movie didn’t cover, then pick up the book this movie was based on, Molly’s Game: From Hollywood’s Elite to Wall Street’s Billionaire Boys Club, My High-Stakes Adventure in the World of Underground Poker by none other than Molly Bloom herself.