Film

Molly’s Game (Film Review) – A Great Directorial Debut For Aaron Sorkin

Molly’s Game is a biographical crime drama written and directed by Aaron Sorkin. The film is based on the memoir Molly’s Game: From Hollywood’s Elite to Wall Street’s Billionaire Boys Club, My High-Stakes Adventure in the World of Underground Poker. This memoir was written by Molly Bloom who is played by Jessica Chastain in Molly’s Game.

The film also stars Jeremy Strong, Joe Keery, Claire Rankin, Graham Greene, Bill Camp, Chris O’Dowd, Brian D’Arcy James, Michael Cera, Kevin Costner and Idris Elba. The story of Molly’s Game focuses on Molly Bloom. She establishes an underground poker empire for Hollywood celebrities, business tycoons, athletes and even the Russian mafia. Molly becomes the target of an FBI investigation due to her illegal acts within this business venture. She enlists the help of lawyer Charlie Jaffey (Idris Elba) to avoid a lengthy prison sentence.

My Knowledge and Expectation of Molly’s Game

A film such as Molly’s Game is made for me. For one, I love biopics. Indeed, biopics such as Gandhi, Schindler’s List, Malcolm X and Goodfellas are some of my all-time favourite films. Additionally, any biopic related to crime provides a great opportunity for someone to delve into a gritty, complex story. If you had to choose a screenwriter for Molly’s Game, Aaron Sorkin is a great choice.

Jessica Chastain as Molly Bloom in Molly's Game

While probably most famous for his television work with The West Wing, that was not my introduction to Aaron Sorkin. Instead, it was his work in the film industry that alerted me to his talent as a screenwriter. The Social Network, A Few Good Men, Moneyball and Charlie Wilson’s War made me realise that Sorkin is a cut above a lot of the screenwriters working today. Molly’s Game actually marks the directorial debut of Aaron Sorkin. This also peaked my interest in the film.

Still, what really sealed the deal to make Molly’s Game an absolute must see for me was the cast. Clearly, casting Kevin Costner, Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba is guaranteed to elevate any film. They all have presence on-screen and have consistently proved to be extremely talented actors. Literally, how could this film be bad? It did not seem possible. I was steadfast in my belief that Molly’s Game would be fantastic.

My Thoughts on Molly’s Game

I was right to think this way. Molly’s Game is absolutely phenomenal. I was mesmerised by the story and the acting from beginning to end. For me, the star of the film is Aaron Sorkin. His writing in the film is fantastic and it gives the film momentum and purpose. The pacing in Molly’s Game was superb and that was mainly down to how quick Sorkin’s dialogue in the film was. It also made a lot of the character interactions in the film very intriguing and gripping.

Idris Elba as Charlie Jaffey and Jessica Chastain as Molly Bloom in Molly's Game

Still, you need great performances from your cast for these scenes to be as enthralling as they are. Thankfully, everyone is great in Molly’s Game and the standout is Jessica Chastain. As it stands right now, she would be guaranteed an Oscar nomination for Best Actress if I had a say. She always brings her best to every film I see her in and this is no different in Molly’s Game. She was masterful in this film. She also had electric chemistry with Idris Elba and their scenes were amongst the best in the film.

Yet, the best scene in Molly’s Game was the one between Jessica Chastain and Kevin Costner. Costner’s role in the film is quite minimal. However, when he is on screen, he has presence. This is no more apparent than his scene with Chastain towards the end of the film. That scene between father and daughter is just sublime and I do not want to give away what happens. All I will say is that certain things which are established in the film come full circle in this scene. When it does, it is very emotional for the characters that Costner and Chastain play in Molly’s Game.

My Final Thoughts on Molly’s Game

I found the character of Molly to be very complex. Jessica Chastain beautifully portrays the depth in this strong-willed character who evokes power and vulnerability in a believable, compelling way. In a lot of ways, the compelling elements of the story in Molly’s Game were ripe for Aaron Sorkin to explore and flesh out. He did this to such a brilliant degree that Molly’s Game is a film that I believe, even at this very early stage, will rank amongst the best films I will see in 2018.

Kevin Costner as Larry Bloom and Jessica Chastain as Molly Bloom in Molly's Game

I love Molly’s Game. Because the film was first released in 2017, it is eligible for nominations at the Oscars. I pray that it is recognised, especially in the acting categories. At a minimum, it should be nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay. Molly’s Game is the first film I have seen in this Oscar season since Blade Runner 2049 that made me think it deserves a lot of Oscar nominations. I hope the film is appreciated by Academy voters to the extent that I do. Moreover, I hope you love the film as much as I do once you see it. You must see Molly’s Game as soon as you can. I do not believe that you will regret seeing this film.

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