Molly’s Game

Rated 4.0

Jessica Chastain takes the role of Molly Bloom, real-life infamous poker game organizer and former championship skier, and nails it. Molly’s Game takes a true story that seems too crazy to be real and makes it into a great movie about a woman’s struggle against the justice system and the perils of gambling outside the already dangerous realm of a casino. This is a great actress firing on all cylinders with an extra rocket booster on her back. Making the experience all the more enjoyable is screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network) making a stylish, snappy directorial debut that shows he has a big future beyond the keyboard. Bloom found herself working high-stakes poker games populated by big gamblers and celebrities. Michael Cera shows up in the movie as one of the players, allegedly based upon notorious card player Tobey Maguire. Bloom graduates from working the games to organizing them. She works up to having the highest stakes game in New York before things go awry, eventually leading to massive legal problems. That’s where Idris Elba, playing Bloom’s lawyer, enters into the fray and scorches the screen alongside Chastain. Both benefit from precisely written, fiery dialogue courtesy of Sorkin. The screenplay and direction are so good, the courtroom scenes in this film actually stand as some of the movie’s greater moments. That’s coming from a guy whose eyes often glaze over during courtroom dramas. Sorkin’s dialogue, adapted from Bloom’s autobiography, has the kinetic energy of the best David Mamet scripts. While there are quiet moments, the movie generally fires along at a high energy level that never becomes overbearing. That’s where Sorkin gets big kudos for his directing chops. He keeps a heavily worded, constantly moving movie tremendously entertaining and remarkably coherent.