Steve Jobs (2015) and The Social Network (2010), directed by Danny Boyle and David Fincher respectively, are two films written by Aaron Sorkin that I absolutely love. Sorkin decided to take the reigns and direct his newest film, Molly’s Game (2017). This movie features Sorkin’s trademarked style dialogue that makes scenes of two people talking feel like an action sequence, but definitely shows his lack of expertise as a director with bland camera movements and dialogue coverage.
Molly’s Game is an engaging and intriguing film
Based on the true story of Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain), Molly is shown at three stages of her life, and how these stages intermingle is well structured and intriguing. Molly’s youth was focused around competitive skiing and her strained relationship with her father (Kevin Costner). The middle section of her life is the most intriguing, as she finds herself hosting exclusive high stakes poker games. The film’s present-day moments are two years after her last poker event, as Molly finds herself a target in an FBI investigation, seeking counsel from Charlie Jaffey (Idris Elba).
The film is a little long, running at two hours and twenty minutes, but Sorkin’s writing is constantly engaging and often times so fun that it makes the time fly by. However, there are a few moments that could have been trimmed out to make the film better overall. One example of these moments can be found late in the film, where Molly goes ice skating (which often looks like a high school green screen shoot), which ends in a conversation that seems unlikely and definitely doesn’t add much to the film. This conversation seems a little too neat and tidy, and, despite good performances from both actors involved, seems a little too scripted. While I don’t know how much power Sorkin had in the final cut of the film, that scene stands out as one that was too precious to cut despite it not adding to the overall product.
Elba and Chastain both give amazing performances. Elba gets a monologue that he delivers expertly, which really sells the message that the film seems to be conveying about Molly Bloom. Chastain gets many of the lines as she narrates most of the flashback sections of the film, and her sarcastic tone and air of superiority really works with the character and the worlds she finds herself in. It’s worthy to note that Michael Cera is playing one of the poker players and is cast against type, but he nails the role quite well.
One of the downsides of not seeing Molly’s Game earlier is I have heard several other critics opinions. It’s hard to tell if my few issues with the film would have stood out to me had I not already had them pointed out. I like to believe that they had no impact, but I’m also aware that I can’t go into the film without that prior knowledge potentially tinting my view of it. Either way, I really enjoyed Molly’s Game and the story is one I find extremely compelling. Sorkin’s writing style works for my sensibilities, so Molly’s Game stays at the Must See rating.