Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Molly's Game

This afternoon I saw Molly's Game, starring Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba.

Molly Bloom (Chastain) was an unhappy L.A. cocktail waitress when one of her restaurant bosses invited her to organize a poker game for his high-profile friends. This film tells the story of how she orchestrated a good game, then took it over and made millions on both coasts.

It would be hard to argue that anyone does crackling dialog better than Aaron Sorkin and this film is no exception. It's so quick and fast you don't have much time to breathe, but that's okay—the lengthy running time is forgivable because not a second is wasted. Sorkin also directed the film, and did a damn fine job.

Aside from drowning in Chastain's gratuitous cleavage, there's really not much wrong with the movie. They make Tobey Maguire's character (referred to as "Player X") almost likable, with Michael Cera playing him, though what he did to Ms. Bloom in real life is far worse than what's shown in the movie. They emphasize how hard Bloom's father (played here by the always-reliable Kevin Costner) was on her, and that provides the perfect excuse for why she's so strong and somewhat unlikable herself.

Idris Elba saves the day as the earnest lawyer, determined to keep is client out of jail, though she's guilty of everything of which she is accused.

If it sounds as if I'm just delivering critiques in pieces, it's because I am. That's how I digest Sorkin films digested because there's so much to absorb. To say that Chastain is "good" wouldn't do her justice. She's phenomenal and the camera is barely off of her for the duration. Every supporting character is strong, every note hit just right to strike the needed balance.

This is one of those rare occasions where I saw the film before I read the book, and the book will have to be stellar to beat it.


No comments: