Thursday, July 5, 2018
Is it worth a Redbox: Molly's Game
In our continued series of reviewing summer movies from Redbox, we have more of an adult feature film- a chance from our usual family fare movie reviews.
A few years ago, there was a Hollywood scandal involving high stakes celebrity poker games and the money being won and lost at those games. Several big name stars were dragged into the scandal- most noticeably Ben Affleck and Toby Maguire. Coming out of that scandal was the story of the woman who organized the game, Molly Bloom. This movie is an adapted screenplay from the book she wrote and stars Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba and is written and directed by longtime Hollywood director, Aaron Sorkin!
The story of Molly Bloom, former Olympic team hopeful in skiing whose career was ended by a fluke accident during the Olympic Trials. Following that accident, the college graduate forgoes law school to take odd jobs in Los Angeles as a waitress and executive assistant.
Her executive assistant job gets her invited to a high stakes, weekly poker game hosted by her boss. In that game, she meets and mingles with the elites in acting, sports, and music The movie does not name names, but from most accounts, the player listed as Player X is Toby Maguire( played by Michael Cera). Molly, not knowing much about Poker, studies the men and the game and each week makes herself more and more valuable to the operation of the game and she is well liked by Player X. Her boss, who is losing money each week from his gambling habit, takes it out on Molly and tells her he will no longer pay her at her day job- putting her working the Poker game in jeopardy. Molly sensing what is going to happen, recruits Player X and many of the player she met into her own high stakes Poker Game.
Of course, when you are playing high stakes games such as Poker, it attracts a different crowd and criminal element and the story in the movie is told in a flashback style that allows you to see the rise and fall of Molly Bloom and the descent of her life and character as her life begins to fall apart. Idris Elba plays her lawyer who has a heart for her plight but mostly just wants to see justice done for his client.
Chastain is the real star here playing the role of a sympathetic figure who at time makes if very difficult to have sympathy for. Molly is both fun and engaging, but also naïve and stubborn and Chastain plays this complicated character very well.
Sorkin keeps the script moving at a brisk pace and even tho the subplot of the psychological reasoning behind her criminal behavior seeks to justify her criminal activity, its kept until the last act of the film. Kevin Costner plays her dad in the film.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable film. A good date night movie to watch with a bottle of wine. Thumbs way up!