Molly’s Game

From the ski slopes to the poker table, the story true-to-life exploits of Molly Bloom in “Molly’s Game” is one of last year’s best films, and will open in wide release this Friday.

Courtesy Photo

Making his directorial filmmaking debut, Academy Award-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin deals moviegoers in on the true-life exploits of poker game hostess Molly Bloom. Portraying Bloom, the Olympic-class skier turned moderator of high-stakes underground gambling, is the always reliable and razor-sharp Jessica Chastain (“Zero Dark Thirty”). 

In “Molly’s Game,” we find Chastain’s Bloom character caught up with the law and facing federal gambling charges and in dire need of a competent, straight-shooting lawyer (Idris Elba). It’s this dynamic attorney-client relationship between Chastain and Elba that truly benefits from Sorkin’s frantic filmmaking and rapid-fire script. The more we get to know Molly Bloom, the more we like her and her integrity.

Based on the Bloom’s memoir, “Molly’s Game: From Hollywood’s Elite to Wall Street’s Billionaire Boys Club, My High-Stakes Adventure in the World of Underground Poker,” the film takes viewers back to Bloom’s childhood and skiing under the watchful eyes of her trainer and father Larry Bloom (Kevin Costner). It’s here that we find the fabric to Bloom’s fierce independence and meticulous personal drive. 

Dialogue heavy but fast-paced, “Molly’s Game” is a fascinating story of boldness, charisma and integrity. The rapport between Bloom and her lawyer evolves into a mutual respect, neither compromising their beliefs along the way. Instead, they find common ground, and begin there. 

Two memorable scenes stand out among many great give-and-take sessions in the movie. Firstly, the powerful case Elba presents in Bloom’s defense to the prosecuting attorney while seeking a plea agreement. And, second, Costner’s condensed therapy session to his daughter, Bloom, near the film’s ending. Both dramatically highlight the film’s tight script and the amazing supporting performances of Elba as Bloom’s legal rep and Costner as her repentant father.

“Molly’s Game” is sensational film about a young woman unwavering in her drive for redemption and to prove her success. A headstrong female that’s driven and independent, she’s willing to take on all competitors and stereotypes. She’s also fine standing pat, playing the cards dealt to her and facing those consequences. 

The film’s blistering pace delivers triumph and tragedy like cards being dealt from a dealer’s hand. One minute we’ve got a winner, the next a loser folding their life away. Along the journey, a tenacious young woman is gambling to make a name for herself—to achieve success in a family of successful achievers.

A Top-5 film of 2017, “Molly’s Game” opens in wide release this Friday, Jan. 5.   

Grade: A

Patrick King is a resident of Tucson and writer for the Reel Brief movie blog at www.reelbrief.com.  You may email him at reelbriefmoviereviews@mail.com.

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