You know, you've been blessed with a gift.
MOLLY'S GAME (2018)
Molly’s Game is an exceptional directorial debut for acclaimed screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, as he takes on the story of Molly Bloom’s illegal poker ring and the federal case against her.
Sorkin has been behind the scenes for many, many years crafting phenomenal works of art in the form of scripts. Now with Molly’s Game, Sorkin takes on his first time behind the camera with strides as he soars above and beyond expectations. Molly’s Game is a beautifully shot film that pays respect to almost every filmmaker Sorkin has worked alongside in the past. From the film’s lighting, to the film’s fluent and fun camerawork, you can tell it was Sorkin who took this piece of history and turned it into a true masterpiece - and on his first attempt nonetheless.
Beyond acknowledging that this is a true story, I had no information about Molly Bloom or her “crimes” prior to viewing the film in theaters, so the movie as a whole was a little difficult to believe. That is until I read the story behind it all and understood that Molly really did experience everything displayed on screen. From her humble beginnings as a receptionist after experiencing a troubled youth, to her first time hosting her boss’s game, we witness her confidence and skill grow until she is running her own games. The events portrayed in the film that were brought about by her games such as the United States Trial against her, are all riveting moments of understanding her side of the story, even if for moments it’s not the real Molly speaking. Emotions run high with family disagreements, court summons, and a never ending line of players attempting to distract Molly from the game she owns.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
In regards to acting, Jessica Chastain blows away any of her prior filmography by miles, creating a seductive and menacing protagonist that ultimately has the audience feeling sorrow towards. Her character lives in a world ruled by men, which is made rather clear through Sorkin’s perspective on the event, showing Chastain’s character getting by in her own unique way. This is even more true due to the men that have a sense of ownership over her, and an ownership of the game she hosts. Played by some amazing talent from the likes of Michael Cera to Chris O’ Dowd, the parts truly showcase their strengths in their respective roles. In the acting department, you literally couldn’t have asked for anything better...especially when you add in powerful performances by Kevin Costner and Idris Elba.
The success of both the characters and the way the actors play them, boils down to the written script. Amazing iterations are created of real life people during the event in Molly Bloom’s life and the unfortunate consequences that her actions caused for several. No character is uninteresting, and even the background characters have their own stories to tell from their slight actions or outfits they wear every time they’re on screen. Bloom’s father, played by Costner, appears periodically to reinforce plot points and to put things back together again, even if it’s in an unorthodox fashion; but even with his minimal screen time, he still makes a lasting impression. Yet no other character makes a stronger impression than Idris Elba, who takes the part of Bloom’s respective lawyer. When the circumstances fall to where they lie, he must take her defense, and his sensational performance made my heart leap out of my chest in pure realization of how this legal matter may turn out in the end.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
Wonderful costume design gives every character an extra touch of personality that Sorkin in no way needed, yet it functioned perfectly in advancing the characterization he was creating through his always brilliant conversation. Every character was fully fleshed out with their dialogue, outfits, and physical attributes that all contributed to the stunning characterization.
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
The sound design, mixed with an engrossing score, kept my interest throughout the entire runtime. Rather than distracting from the storyline or dialogue, it instead elevated the film to new heights. It’s not a score I would tend to listen to in my free time, but being blended with Sorkin’s exemplary filmmaking makes this generic score oddly immersive.
Molly’s Game intrigued me with the idea of Sorkin taking the helm for once behind the camera, and luckily it blew me away in regards to the final product shown. Molly Bloom not only had a riveting story to tell, but also a tale I hadn’t been aware of in the past, which made the film’s outcomes seem even more spontaneous. Brilliant casting led to remarkable performances, that not only brought Sorkin’s script to its full potential, but also gave Aaron Sorkin a strong foot through the Hollywood door for more directorial releases in the future.