Reel Matt

This blog started as my movie marathon — watching a movie a day for a whole year — and has continued as a place for me to write reviews about movies, TV, and various other items.

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Molly's Game

Film #630

THE PLOT

The true story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-class skier who ran the world's most exclusive high-stakes poker game and became an FBI target.

THE REVIEW

Molly’s Game is equal parts Aaron Sorkin dialogue-fest, poker/gambling how-to, and semi-traumatic childhood upbringing affecting the main character’s present-day choices. While they all work well together, you could easily enjoy this film for just whichever part calls to you most.

For me, I enjoyed all three elements of the film. Sorkin’s writing is on full display and, being behind the camera for his directorial debut, touches all parts of the film with his style. It is frenetic and fast paced, but controlled for the most part. The poker element was above my pay-grade, while me still being able to understand a good chunk. Some of the specific hands and the strategy behind moves baffle me, and still do. But I still found the poker element utterly appealing. It’s also got bookkeeping, antes, and the high-stakes energy to get almost anyone hooked.

And, of course, Jessica Chastain sells it all. Introduced as the mastermind behind it all, throughout the film the layers are peeled back to reveal the “softer” side and the impulses that drive her. Most of the backstory is driven by her sibling rivalries and demanding father (Kevin Costner) who just wants her to be an accomplished skiier and lawyer.

A job-well done for Sorkin on his first time in the director’s chair.

THE RATING

4 out of 5