Molly's Game. A Quick Review
In my humble opinion there is no better written scene in a movie than this one from A Few Good Men(Save for some Shakesperian adaptations and this scene from Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.). It has so many great lines in such a short amount of time, and I don't even think the most famous one is even in my top 3 best. Basically, I have a lot of respect for Aaron Sorkin, He is one of the best if not the best screenwriters of his time and has more or less created a style that has been often imitated, never duplicated.
Despite my best memory, Molly's Game is Sorkin's first foray into directing, I could have sworn he directed some Stock Market thriller or something like that but never the less. To be fair I expect a lot from this guy, he has earned the prestigious titles that I gave him in the first paragraph and thus is expected to deliver at a high level every time, and this is why all of the things I am about to say may seem like I feel quite negatively about this movie. To make this easy, Molly's Game is a well made movie that is fine, and here are thoughts about it.
Let's just get this out of the way, I am not a fan of Jessica Chastain. I find that she struggles more than she succeeds(A Most Violent Year and Take Shelter being my biggest exceptions). Instead of writing a paragraph about how I dislike someone I would rather talk about something I did like. Idris Elba will always be Stringer Bell to me but with him becoming a bigger and bigger star I am going to have to come to terms with the fact that "We aint gotta dream no more". DJ Big Driis comes so correct in this movie, it is said that Chastain and Elba only had 10 days film time together with quite a few scenes to get through. While the star of the movie seems to slip in these scenes a bit, Elba shows the full range of what hes got, and this guy loves it.
As stated previously, Aaron Sorkin is one of the most celebrated screenwriters of the last 20 or so years. Looking at Moly's Game through that lens makes things a little rough. While there are some fantastic "Sorkian" lines in here that make your brain flutter, this is not one of his better outings. The plot is all jumbled with jumps in time that are far more annoying than they are illuminating. Some characters are just so predictable and one note that it feels like a computer wrote them and Sorkin even commits the screenwriting cardinal sin, voice over narration. He even gives himself an out by having Elba's character ask Molly to retell him the story in her book, making sure to tell the entire story this time, and the master did not even use it.
It is possible that the real life Molly Bloom may have had some say in what went into the movie, as this is even a topic brought up in dialogue in the actual movie, but it is also possible that Sorkin was a bit distracted with his directorial duties and let a few script issue by. For a first time director, Molly's Game is a well directed movie. You can see Sorkin's influences but he does a good job of making some techniques his own. He does not really do anything spectacularly but he definitely has made a watchable experience despite the lull at the start of the third act and being at least 20 minutes too long.
Molly's Game is not all that different from most other movies, it has flaws but they can be easy to overlook based on the viewer. I have to be honest I expected more from Sorkin in his directorial debut but that is mostly a personal opinion. There is nothing entirely exciting about Molly's Game, not even the source material really, over the course of the movie we are constantly told how big of a deal these poker games were and how international this story was when neither I or anyone I have spoken to about the story has ever even heard of Molly Bloom. This one is worth a shot but don't be surprised when Molly's Game screws you on the flop.