Release Date – Limited: December 25, 2017; Wide: January 5, 2018
Director: Aaron Sorkin
Writer: Molly Bloom (book), Aaron Sorkin (screenplay)
Cast: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, Jeremy Strong, Chris O’Dowd, J.C. MacKenzie, Brian d’Arcy James, Bill Camp, Graham Greene, Justin Kirk, Angela Gots, Natalie Krill, Stephanie Herfield, Madison McKinley, Joe Keery, Michael Kostroff, Claire Rankin, Victor Serfaty, Whitney Peak, Jon Bass, Joey Brooks, Samantha Isler, Piper Howell, Kjartan Hewitt, Khalid Klein, Chris Hoffman
MPAA Rating: R
Runtime: 120 minutes
Production Company: STX Entertainment, Huayi Brothers Pictures, The Mark Gordon Company, Pascal Pictures, Entertainment One
Genre: Biography, Drama
Country: USA, China
This film marks Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut, and it’s clear he has the same amount of talent behind the camera, as he does writing screenplays (The Social Network, Moneyball). The collaborative effort is obvious from the entire cast joining forces off and on screen together with this re-telling of the true story that put Molly Bloom on the map, highlighted even more than she already was.
Molly (Jessica Chastain) was an Olympic class skier, but through unfortunate events, had to leave that dream in the past, and pursue other opportunities. Through the random curves life can throw at someone, she ended up hosting one of the most exclusive high stakes poker games for years before being arrested, and within this film, we get her side of the story. Though no matter how interesting a story truly is, the story-teller is the lifeblood of its relevancy that can make or break the whole ordeal. So it’s told here, through the eyes of Molly from narration, and director Sorkin couldn’t have made a better choice.
Narration can be a tricky tool to use. It can either drive the film forward to greatness or lead it off a cliff to crash and burn. The narration this time took the former approach not only driving it forward but off a mountaintop soaring for miles in the clouds with some of the greater films of 2017. There was never a dull moment, and each scene was quick, flashy, and with quippy dialogue that you wouldn’t want to blink or mishear one word. I was so intrigued to know more. I couldn’t believe the story that was unfolding in front of me. It was a race to the end to put the puzzles pieces together on what was factually true, opposed to what the tabloids conjured together. I knew nothing of Molly Bloom before my viewing but was dying to know even more as each minute passed while in the theater.
This was a fresh take on court proceedings and the game of poker from the point of view that was new to me. I learned something new and got a unique perspective of what I had already known. And it wasn’t just an account of what Molly’s life was like in the fast lane but dove into her childhood, and family life which framed the decisions she made in her decade-long quest to own her own destiny. And while it was so great, it could only stand as high from the strong cast it had to support it. That being from Idris Elba, and Oscar winner Kevin Costner who both had strong supporting roles. The two, surrounded by Jessica Chastain gives you a perfect trio of acting that could easily battle with all the greats that Hollywood has to offer.
Molly’s Game is a masterpiece from start to finish that in my opinion is the best picture contender for the year. The only thing the film didn’t accomplish was evoking a teary emotional response from my eyes, but might not have been the point of its making. I wanted to learn more about poker, I wanted to dive into the life of being a lawyer. I wanted to feel the shoes of Molly to try and empathize what she went through. But if anything else no one can say that Molly wasn’t a real hustler, that grinded to the end to make sure she had something of her own, which is nothing short of respectable.