Jessica Chastain goes all in with Aaron Sorkin’s snappy and fast-paced true life poker drama Molly’s Game which chronicles the life of one incredible woman.
Trained to be a competitive Olympic skier her whole life, Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain) finds her dream cut short by a very unlucky twist of fate. Suddenly with her life spun around Molly moves to Los Angeles and is introduced to the world of high-stakes, closed-door underground poker. Throwing herself into this new world she soon learns how the system works and soon starts up her own very glamorous game. Her hard work soon leads to great wealth and success, along with some very shady connections with a host of dangerous mafioso types. Finding herself caught up in a media and legal firestorm Molly will have to use all her wits to survive.
Molly’s Game is simply one of the best films you’ll see all year. There’s no other way to put it. Writer/director Aaron Sorkin makes his debut behind the camera and he really knows how to shoot a movie. In addition to his cracking dialogue and vast understanding of character Sorkin crafts a beautifully polished narrative that really takes Molly, and the audience, for one hell of a ride. From the seedy backroom bars of Los Angeles to the height of sophistication and glamour of New York Molly Bloom lived one hell of a life. Sorkin captures all of it, and his use of lighting, cinematography, costuming and location helps to bring Molly’s incredible world together.
Jessica Chastain is on fire as Molly Bloom! The lauded actress jumps head-first into a very difficult role which is marked by fierce competition and a commitment to excellence. As Bloom Chastain is smart, cunning, sharp, fierce and absolutely uncompromising. This is a woman who will not stop until she achieves her goal and this applies to her both building her own poker empire, and fighting to clear her name in court. Chastain channels Molly’s rebel entrepreneurship perfectly and she definitely is willing to go to some uncomfortable places as the character, as Molly earns a few scrapes along the way.
My favourite part of Chastain’s performance is how she channel’s Molly’s ability to never become a victim. While this is a woman who is adept at winning she’s also faced some intense hardships in her life and knows what it’s like to lose. But through all of that she’s never one to be a declared a victim. Molly’s a fighter and even in her most dire situation she won’t back down or let anyone get one over on her. It’s an inspired performance from Chastain and her bravery to take on any challenge will fill you up with a fire to do the same.
Standing next to Chastain in Molly’s Game is the very suave Idris Elba as her defence attorney Charlie Jaffe. Kitted out in perfectly tailored suits, and all around class, Charlie is a man who’s just as smart as Molly and won’t be a party to her games or cunning. He’s very much her equal and is ready to call her on her mistakes and the laws that she may have broken. But while Idris makes for a very sharp shooter he also admires Molly’s integrity and work ethic and takes her on as a client.
Chastain and Elba make a great pair together on screen. They’re two performers who are at the top of their game and they really complement each other perfectly on screen. Their back and forth arguments over the truth are incredibly vivid, and when they do decide to fight together to clear Molly’s name you’re certain that they will win.
While Molly’s Game might be a serious award contender it’s also an incredibly entertaining film. They say truth is sometimes stranger than fiction and this definitely applies to Molly’s Game and that’s why it’s so exciting. The narrative is sharp, the characters are strong and you never know what’s going to happen next, just like the best games of Texas hold’em. And did I mention that you’ll get a masters in poker by the end of the movie? Yep, Sorkin vividly breaks down the game and really makes you feel the excitement and adrenaline when a big hand is shown up on screen. These games are some of the most intense moments in the film and they really get you going.
Molly’s Game is by far one of the most entertaining films I’ve seen in a long time and it makes for very exciting viewing. I highly recommend that you go and see it immediately, and afterwards you’ll learn why you should go all in, bet large and never fold.
Image: EOne Films