Molly’s Game Review - Magnificent; Sharp; A Hands Down Winner

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Molly's Game, from STX Entertainment and Entertainment One, brings to the screen the true story of competitive Skier, Molly Bloom, who after losing a spot on the U.S. Ski team, she heads to sunny L.A. for a change.

Co-written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, Molly's Game stars Jessica Chastain, Idris Alba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, Jeremy Strong, Chris O'Dowd, J.C. MacKenzie, Brian d'Arcy James, Bill Camp, Graham Greene, Angela Gots, Natalie Krill, Stephanie Herfield and Madison McKinley. Based on the book of the same name written by Molly Bloom.

Molly's Game begin in voice over as Jessica Chastain, who plays Molly Bloom, explain her credentials, by 21 she had essentially a "Gold Plated" resume: Championship Skier, Political Science Major and 175 on the LSAT's. One would think the doors of every major University would be open wide and calling.

Unfortunately, Molly took a tumble on the slopes and with all her other accomplishments she didn't measure up to the expectations of her father, Larry, played by Kevin Costner. She would always be skiing in the shadows of her Olympic team brothers. So deciding to break away from the riggers of family life Molly heads to sunny L.A.

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Soon our 175 on the LSAT's lands a personal assistant position, schlepping coffees and arranging a weekly poker night for Dean Keith, played by Jeremy Strong, with few connection he has serious Hollywood player aspirations. It's doubtful he had ever met a woman with more intelligence as his chauvinistic, typical, grovel for your pittance is obvious.

Molly however was more intelligence and technologically savvy, within weeks she had the entire data base on spreadsheets and contact numbers to the glam and glitterati players on her blackberry. It wasn't long before she caught the eye of Player X, played by Michael Cera, an addicted gambler and a willing defect of Dean Keith as Molly strikes out on her own.

With a weekly suite at the Four Seasons and high stakes buy in's there were very few empty seats as Hollywood's elite, star athletes, and a sprinkling of common multi-millionaires from business, finance and trust funds.

Soon she was bringing in players that were good but not as good as the regulars and then every now and then she would agree, as long as they had platinum references, just bad players like Brad, played by Brian d'Arcy James.

Brad was probably the worst player at the table. His losses were legendary and always staked by bigger money. The storyline around him shows the cycle of Beverly Hills money and just how the game is played among the insiders.

Molly ran tables in Los Angeles for eight years and earned a considerable sum of money. She forgot one lesson never bite the hand that feeds you and to her, and rightly so, she was putting out all the risk and she was feeding herself,

Like most things in L.A. it was an illusion and Player X, a Tobey Maguire look alike, was a serious power player. She didn't realize how quickly it could all be taken from her with a single phone call doors that were opened for her were closed permanently. Unfortunately she was an outsider and that's the game.

With Beverly Hills dried up, she had skill, and talent on her side so jumping coasts to the next biggest money capital, New York City seemed like the next move. She then built an identical game in the Big Apple believing that big juicy apple was ripe and not rotten.

Two years into the games, which could have gone on indefinitely, if she had ran due diligence on her clients and steered clear of the Russian Mafia, she was raided.

Of coruse this is where the game changes permanently.

Having screened Molly's Game at the recent AFI Film Festival presented by Audi, the audience reaction, which was a sample of movie goers and critics, proved that this is one winning combination.

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Aaron Sorkin, in his directorial debut creates the glam, glitz and glitter of everything that is Beverly Hills, the P.A. allowed grunt treatment, and of course bigger and blonder is the combination for some. He captured the nuances of both coasts and the trademark, iconic shots that lure the hopeful to each.

Jessica Chastain took this role and became this person. I have to admit she had some hits and misses and so walking into the theater with a blank slate of no expectation, I was surprised at how well she took the role and made it her own. She ceases to exist and this high achieving, incredibly smart and talented academic emerges. She was spectacular.

Of course Idris Elba, which enters as Charlie Jaffey, a New York criminal lawyer, which we meet after the Fed's raid her, moves into the role effortlessly. He is quickly becoming a go to and proves with every role the depth of his talent.

Kevin Costner has been slowly building this resume of "come back" material and with each role it is hard to understand why we let him go in the first place. He has aged well and still has the magnetic charm. As a father, as he is in this role, with a few words becomes esteemed again.

With brilliant performances and impressive directing, Molly's Game will be hard to beat at the holiday box office.

Molly's Game opens Christmas Day. The hottest hand at the table. See it.


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