Molly's Game Review: Jessica Chastain Commands Your Attention

Molly’s Game Review: Jessica Chastain Commands Your Attention

Posted by December 22, 2017 Comment

Molly's Game
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Summary
Jessica Chastain gives the performance of her career in the directorial debut of Aaron Sorkin.

Molly’s Game feels like the film Aaron Sorkin has been building up to for his entire career.

Blending real-life stories with stylized productions has been a staple of films he has written for years. The Social Network, Charlie Wilson’s War, Moneyball — even back to his television shows The West Wing and Sports Night. All of them have featured whip-smart dialogue that can cover miles and miles of plot in a matter of minutes. He basically made it an art form all his own. You either love this frenetic style or you avoid it all costs.

Thankfully, this one is a home run. Well, it clears the wall. There are some interesting stylistic choices he made shooting this film that left me scratching my head; but other than that, this one flies through its running time smoothly. Sorkin is at his top writing game here — probably his best since his Academy Award-winning screenplay for The Social Network.

But if he didn’t have Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game would fall completely apart. I have not seen an actor or actress all year grab a role like this and completely bowl me over. Molly Bloom, the former Olympic hopeful-turned-poker game-running badass, is arrested early on in the film, her home raided by the FBI. Penniless, she turns to lawyer Charlie Jaffey (a stellar Idris Elba, having a hell of a year himself) to help clear her of federal racketeering charges. This is all based on Bloom’s autobiography, which itself becomes a macguffin in the film.

Molly's Game

Chastain may be the best working actress around right now. She is in 98% of the scenes of this film and carries the whole thing on her back. She is more than up for the task, and she never falters in the role; not once. When you see someone excel at something the way that she does on screen, it is such a delight. I will tell you what, too — I want to see a stage play starring her and Elba every day for the rest of my life. Their chemistry is off-the-charts great.The rest of the cast is just as strong, with Kevin Costner doing excellent work as Molly’s father. Costner and Chastain share a scene on a park bench that is one of my favorites of the year.

My only complaint here is that sometimes the film gets a little bogged down by the minutia of poker. I will never understand how people can just sit down in front of a television and watch people play cards. While it can produce scenes of great drama, they are countered by characters spewing poker babble that for the life of me I do not understand, no matter what graphics are put on screen. These are minor quibbles, however, overshadowed by the film’s many pros.

Molly’s Game is a wonderful and refreshing experience. It is always a good time seeing masters of their craft at the top of their game.

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(Last Updated December 22, 2017 11:23 am )

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About Jeremy Konrad

Jeremy Konrad collects way too much stuff. He loves baseball, Funko Pops, Star Wars, and wrestling. He resides in the Upside Down, waiting for Hopper to rescue him. Follow him on Twitter @jeremyohio

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