Based on the novel of the same name, Molly’s Game is based on the rise and fall of Molly Bloom, who in her 20s, was hosting the world’s most exclusive Poker tournaments in both LA & NYC. Attracting the biggest names in Hollywood, sports and business, her game was rolling in millions, before inevitably getting the unwanted attention of organised crime & the mafia.
Before taking up her place in law school, Molly Bloom (Chastain) decides to take a year out, taking up part time jobs to support herself. During this time, while working as an assistant, she gets introduced to the world of underground Poker, planning the logistics for her boss’s poker nights. It’s not before long, she uses her wits & smarts to get her foot into this lavish lifestyle, and has her own business running. But after falling foul to the law, she needs to rely on her charismatic defense attorney, Charlie Jaffey (Elba) in order to avoid the full brunt off the law.
The film has been referred to in the same breath as The Wolf of Wall Street, and in a sense, it is a similar story, they both start from nothing, earning millions, before the collapse of a mighty empire. But unlike TWOWS, where all the activity was clearly illegal from the start, Molly does her best to keep things as legal as possible. Chastain is brilliant as Molly, bringing a certain likability and dynamism to the character. Though the business she takes partakes in, is morally askew, for most parts, she stays on the right side of things. Her monologues are full of wit and sarcasm, which makes her character thoroughly entertaining. Her interactions with Elba are also highly amusing, both characters are intelligent and charming, so their verbal sparring is great fun to watch. Their characters also avoid the trap of falling into a clichéd romance, which was a nice change for once.
The most captivating parts of the film are obviously all the Poker scenes, where they flashback to the events prior to her arrest. You don’t have to be an expert in Poker to know what is going on, as the movie explains everything in an engaging fashion. Not to mention, the real life addition of a big time Hollywood celebrity (whose identity can be easily found out with a quick search online!) adds an interesting dimension to the story. These are the parts of the movie you’ve come to see, and Chastain carries all of them with supreme grace.
Though most of the film is compelling to watch, the film really suffers in the final act. With her relationship with her father (Kevin Costner) playing a pivotal role. The film grinds to a halt, and adds an unnecessary 20 minutes to the entire movie. That really is the only real flaw that could be said about a film that for most parts, it’s mighty enjoyable. Of course some liberties are taken from the source material, in order to make the film more enjoyable, but that’s to be expected for any book that is converted for the big screen.
Coming out of New Year, Molly’s Game is a perfect way to start the year at the cinema! Yes the finale is underwhelming, the majority of the movie is riveting.