In Molly’s Game, based on a true story, Jessica Chastain plays Molly Bloom. An Olympic standard skier in her youth, she was forced to give up the sport following a bad crash. Looking for a new career, she finds herself becoming involved in the world of high stakes private poker games. She eventually starts running some of those games that involve film stars, royalty and the Russian mob, and that attracts the attention of the FBI.
It is pretty easy to know whether you will enjoy this film before you see it. It is written by Aaron Sorkin, and if you like his style of rapid complex dialogue most famously employed in The West Wing and The Social Network, you will certainly find a lot of enjoyment here. From the stunning opening sequence showing Molly’s skiing accident, through some rapid explanations of poker hands and terminology to witty exchanges between Molly and her lawyer, played by Idris Elba, there is a lot of trademark Sorkin to savour. He also directs and does a decent enough job, but it is really all about the script, expertly delivered by Chastain, Elba, and, in impressive supporting roles, Kevin Costner as her Dad, Michael Cera as one of the most high profile players and Chris O’Dowd as a lesser player with an alcohol problem.
At 140 minutes, it probably is a touch too long, and there is one great contrivance in the plot when Molly bumps into her estranged father in an unlikely way. However, even that negative ends up as a positive, as the resulting scene is superbly written and impeccably delivered by the two actors.
A great first film to see in 2018.
Rating: 9 out of 10