Well known in Hollywood for his incredible writing duties, Aaron Sorkin has stepped behind the camera for the first time to direct the biographical events of Molly Bloom. Once an Olympic skier, she was fatally injured in a crash at the Winter Olympics which then ended her career. Portrayed by the ever brilliant Jessica Chastain, Molly goes onto live a normal life. Working a 9-5 office job for a boss that she hates, until, a rare opportunity arises to help her boss run a gambling night with a bunch of strangers. She is in charge of all of the gamblers money and what is going in and out. A huge responsibility pays off as they all enjoy her presence. As time goes on, Molly makes a considerable amount of money and decides to use her contacts to create her own high-stakes Poker game that includes actors, sports stars and entrepreneurs. As the stakes get higher, the pressure mounts and the FBI are soon on her case.
Solidifying her status as one of the best actresses on the scene right now, Jessica Chastain is the shining star of Molly’s Game. Her effortless turn as Molly Bloom goes down as one of my favourite performances this year. Even if the film isn’t released in the UK until 2018, she has already set a very high bar for next year and has to be one of my early contenders for an Oscar nod. Idris Elba gives a strong performance as Charlie Jaffey, Molly Blooms lawyer for her case against the FBI. Only appearing sporadically in the film, he gives a good balance to the storyline and has good chemistry with Chastain. One of the surprise performances for me is Michael Cera. Playing an unnamed character, his role is of a high-stakes poker player that develops a friendship with Molly and shows a completely different side to the actor that I haven’t seen before.
The best part about the film is Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay, adapted from the memoir of Molly Bloom titled: Molly’s Game: From Hollywood’s Elite to Wall Street’s Billionaire Boys Club, My High-Stakes Adventure in the Word of Underground Poker. From the get go, Sorkin’s screenplay grabs you by the throat and throws you into the whirlwind of Molly’s story. The dialogue and build up play is to be marvelled at. Jaw dropping and incredibly smart, but you really have to pay attention. Drift away for a few seconds and it will be difficult to get back in. But the story itself isn’t one that I have come across before but it’s a massively insightful, yet fascinating one at that.
As an overall, Molly’s Game is a very strong performer. The pacing of the film is near perfect and amps up any drama at the right speed. Characters are introduced in a timely manner with new ones popping up at the right time to keep the film feeling fresh throughout. I honestly thoroughly enjoyed the film and am hoping for a few nominations come Oscar season in some of the big categories. One slight issue with the film is that it does creep a little too far into the running time and could be trimmed down ever so slightly, if it was, It could well have been full marks from me. But as it isn’t, four stars out of five is a fair score!
Check out what we thought of last year with our top 10 of 2017: