Rating:  3.5/5 – Even I was more than a little surprised at how much I like Molly’s Game.  I am middle of the road when it comes to Jessica Chastain, not being a Firefly fan I was only ho-hum on her character and I have absolutely no interest in Mad Men.  I vaguely remember the stories about Molly Bloom so I didn’t exactly have a real frame of reference about the story or the players.  While this is obviously one of those ripped-from-the-headlines type movies about some story that happened and probably got some news they always turn into a “truth is stranger than fiction” films.  My sense was that this was more of a vehicle to showcase Jessica Chastain since she narrates the movie from beginning to end.  And then there’s the question of how much of it is supposed to be real.  Michael Cera seemed to be playing. .well, Michael Cera.  It’s implied that he’s playing himself but the ways movies go he could be standing in for Jesse Eisenberg.

You’ve got to Know When to Show Up

Molly Bloom was on her way to becoming an Olympic hopeful when a bad accident nipped that in the bud.  Not having anything else to do she ends up doing something akin to Hooters for really rich people when she finds herself in the world of billionaire boy’s poker.  Because her list of players eventually ended up being mobsters she got caught in a Rico investigation by the FBI who was sure she could provide secrets to the Russia and Italian mobsters who played in her game.  The movie centers on Molly (Jessica Chastain) trying to convince her lawyer (Idris Alba) to take her case and try it her way.  This is not exactly the Social Network, then again while Aaron Sorkin is a veteran director he’s not exactly on a David Finch level.  The difference?   David Finch found clever ways to show the creation of Facebook seems like a party.  It wasn’t a party.  It was weeks typing pages upon pages of code, then more weeks finding the 1001 tiny things that go wrong when you build a complicated program like Facebook into what it is today.   Not to mention testing – that’s had to be a bear.  But you watch The Social Network and you’d think it was akin to having a kegger with naked college girls or something.  It’s hard to make a bunch of people playing a game at a table look exciting.  So instead you focus on the actors, the personalities and, hopefully, their arcs.  Molly’s Game didn’t do a bad job at this since it had a very smart cast and what felt like a very tight script.

You Got to Know When to Hold Up

What do you say about Idris Elba at this point?  He’s just one of those actors that can do Attack of the Killer Tomatoes and pull of a memorable performance.  Because he’s fucking Idris Elba, Duh.  So there are no breakthrough performances on this one, folks.  Not like Tyler Perry in Gone Girl.  Jessica Chastain, Michael Cera, and Jeremy Strong do what they always do, give us good performances in a little over a 90-minute movie and never let us feel bored.  We all know that movies take liberties because of time and pacing, but there’s only but so many they could take with Molly’s Game.  It’s based on a book written by the actual Molly Bloom, who also has writing credits on the script.  It was an interesting story and a movie that flowed nicely from beginning to end.   You see Molly Bloom’s route to where she ended up nicely, thanks to Jessica Chastain who decided to play it grounded and level rather than a go hard or go home that she could have played it.  I have to give some props to Kevin Costner who has been putting on one great performance after the other.  His turn as Molly’s unperfected but demanding father was also played with a subdued sense of realism.  This makes the movie a tight little feature enjoyable to sit through.  Nothing groundbreaking, nothing mind-blowing but at least worth the price of your ticket if you choose to see it.

Know When to Walk Away, Know When to Run

If I had any real criticism with Molly’s Game it would be the ending.  I would have liked to know where Molly Bloom ended up.  Did she start another business, were there any other consequences of her actions?   The movie ended where it should have but I was hoping for at least those little text updates some movies give you about the characters at the end.  You know, like with Joy when you see her paying her success forward by helping other women in similar positions she started it.  Or the Hangover when it showed the series of photos that not only added to but even added more to the story and the comedy.   I know I could easily look it up Wikipedia or just Google her name but I just thought an update thing at the end or during the final credits would have been nice.  One other thing that bothered me a little was the feeling of no consequences for her actions.  Don’t get me wrong, if the movie ends in a way that makes the most sense I don’t need the bad guy to always get his come-up pence.  Depending on the movie, how it’s crafted, if it can manage to keep within the logic it created for itself, then usually it doesn’t matter.  There was a young girl who expressed admiration for Molly, but without any explicitly stated reason why.   I mean there was a more understated “girl power” thing but the movie did n’t grab on to it as a theme or real focus.  There was a moment where exactly how much of a tightrope walk Molly had to move on, but it went away with a burst of exposition.  It’s a true story so maybe that’s just how things go in real life.

Molly’s Game – When the Dealing’s Done

Molly Game is not going to go on any Oscar lists, nor will it be for anyone to 10. It’s a nice little movie that comes in, tells its story then leaves with the dexterity of a perfect guest.  If you’re a Jessica Chastain fan you won’t be disappointed.  If you’re looking for something a little different from the usual big block buster’s that’s taking over every season thanks to Marvel, you’ll get a kick out of this.  Normally not on my go and see a list, I’m glad I saw Molly’s Game.  I stand by my rating, worth a watch but not a theater must see.  It’s got Idris Elba, that’s worth seeing on its own.

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Dafixer

I'm from Brooklyn New York and this is my opinion on everything.

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