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Film Review: Aaron Sorkin’s Directorial Debut in ‘Molly’s Game’

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CHICAGO – High stakes poker are for folks who prefer to get their rush of adrenalin from the turn of a card rather than other life risks. The positives, the negatives and everything in between are in “Molly’s Game,” the feature directorial debut of Aaron Sorkin (“The West Wing” creator). Let’s walk and talk.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

Yes, Sorkin also wrote the script, which contains that particular rhythm that characterizes his writing. The directing is more straightforward, as the story is based on a true journey of Molly Bloom, an ex-Olympic ski athlete who morphed into the “princess” of underground poker games in Los Angeles and New York City. Inevitably, she is busted, and the film is told in flashback through the process of her legal defense. It’s an absorbing story, a bit too long, with decent performances from Jessica Chastain (portraying Molly), and Idris Elba as her attorney. It’s a full house rather than a royal flush.

Molly Bloom (Chastain) is an Olympic-level skier who wipes out in a qualifying trial. Her injuries prevent her from competing again, but through happenstance she begins to run a poker game after taking a random job. Learning all the nuances of it, including tips from Player X (Michael Cera), Bloom takes over the game, and sets it up in both Los Angeles and New York City.

With the game tied to the Russian mob, the FBI gets involved, and arrests Bloom on multiple illegalities. She secures a lawyer, Charlie Jaffey (Idris Elba) and he begins to piece together her defense. As she tells him her tale of the gaming operation, the “Poker Princess” also delves into the psychology of her life, which includes a father (Kevin Costner) who could not tolerate vulnerability.

”Molly’s Game” opened in Chicago on December 25th, and everywhere on January 5th. See local listings for theaters and show times. Featuring Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, Chris O’Dowd and Bill Camp. Screenplay adapted and directed by Aaron Sorkin. Rated “R”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Molly’s Game”

The Title Character (Jessica Chastain) and Her Lawyer (Idris Elba) in ‘Molly’s Game’
Photo credit: STX Entertainment

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Molly’s Game”

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