Molly’s Game review: a thrilling and entertaining story


Jessica Chastain in Molly’s Game.
Jessica Chastain in Molly’s Game.

BRACE yourselves – Jessica Chastain and Aaron Sorkin have made a film together.

What happens when two people at the top of their fields come together to tell a hard-to-believe story that is actually (mostly) true? You get Molly’s Game.

When her Olympic dreams are dashed due to a chance accident, sharp-as-a-tack skier Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain) heads to LA for a new life.

She gets a job as an assistant to a demanding jerk who runs poker games for celebrities and rich businessmen and quickly picks up on the ins and outs of underground gambling, learning the game, making contacts and eventually running her own games.

Her business booms and she resorts to drugs to control when she sleeps and stays awake, but unbeknownst to her at the time, Russian mobsters become her clientele and she becomes the target of the FBI.

Enter the only lawyer that will take her case at the last minute – Charlie Jaffey (Idris Elba).

Despite clocking in at two hours and 20 minutes, Molly’s Game zips by at such an accelerated speed that it feels like 45 minutes.

Dialogue in Aaron Sorkin’s script is rattled off like bullets out of a machine gun – his signature style – but this is a comprehensive depiction of an outlandish story.

There are so many delicious layers and flavours to his script that this is immensely entertaining.

Even those who don’t know the first thing about poker will be able to follow.

Not only is the story incredibly well told, but Molly is such a strong, engaging female character, as she navigates this man’s world from the bottom rung of the ladder to the very top.

One falter lies in the tail end – a scene between Molly and her psychologist dad (Kevin Costner) in which her motivations are spelled out for us, just in case we didn’t piece it together in the previous 120 minutes.

Though hardly enough to derail the thrillingly entertaining story that has come before it.

THE ESSENTIALS

Molly’s Game (MA)

Directed by: Aaron Sorkin

Starring: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner

Four stars

Review by: Julian Wright

In cinemas now