Molly’s Game (2017)

Molly’s Game
Director: Aaron Sorkin
Writer: Aaron Sorkin
Based on: Molly Bloom‘s autobiographical book
Cast: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, Jeremy Strong, Chris O’Dowd, J.C. MacKenzie, Brian d’Arcy James, Bill Camp, Graham Greene, Justin Kirk
Seen on: 21.3.2018

Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain) used to be an Olympic skier but an injury put an end to her career. Looking for a new way to make a living, she moves to Los Angeles and stumbles into the world of gambling. Sharp and business savy as she is, she quickly moves up and becomes a successful host of high stakes poker games – which in turn puts her into the sight of the FBI.

Molly’s Game is the rare case of a film that reaches its climax with the very first scene. But that’s not the only reason it is ultimately disappointing, despite the excellent cast.

I’m not the world’s biggest Sorkin fan, but I do have to say that I expected more from a film written by him (maybe because I haven’t been really following much of what he does). I always thought of him as a politically aware writer who criticizes things but Molly’s Game pretty much boils down to a neoliberal fever dream with much admiration and none of the criticism that would be called for.

And not only that, the film is seriously missing women. Apart from Molly herself, there are basically no female characters that get any time or consideration. And seriously, the amount of time the camera seems to spend in Chastain’s cleavage is disturbing (it’s understandable to want to spend time there, but seriously).

And to make things worse, the entire film is preoccupied with daddy issues. Molly spends a lot of time talking to her lawyer (Idris Elba) about his daughter, just so her own issues with her father Larry (Kevin Costner) have a parallel and aren’t the only daddy issues around. Larry is an absolute asshole and although the film seems to know this, at least at first, it goes to great lengths to redeem him. This is not only icky with what it says about the father-daughter relationship, it’s ultimately to the detriment of the film’s narrative arc as well.

At least the film wasn’t boring. And the cast, as I mentioned, was really strong – above all Chastain, Elba and O’Dowd. For better or worse, the film is affective. But it really doesn’t make it worth it.

Summarizing: Skip it.

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