BY RYAN MACKETT
MOLLY’S Game is the directorial debut of famed screenwriter Aaron Sorkin. The Oscar, Emmy and Golden Globe-winning writer is best known for writing The West Wing, The Social Network, A Few Good Men, Steve Jobs and Moneyball. Here, he wrote the script from the memoir of the same name by Molly Bloom.
The film tells the true story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-class downhill skier that began running insanely exclusive poker games after suffering an injury that prevented her from skiing again. The structure of the film is non-linear, often jumping between the present-day and various flashbacks throughout Molly’s life. The way Sorkin crafted the script utilized perfect pacing; the film was enthralling and sucked me right in, even if by the third act I felt slightly underwhelmed with the rather abrupt conclusion.
Molly was played by the fantastic, Oscar-nominated Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty, Interstellar, The Help), who was the real-life Bloom’s first choice to play her in the film. Chastain is incredible in this role; she’s one of my favourite actresses working right now. I am also a huge fan of the charismatic Idris Elba (TV’s Luther, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom) as Bloom’s attorney Charlie Jaffey. Chastain and Elba had terrific chemistry together, and they both made the most of Sorkin’s blazing dialogue.
The film also starred Kevin Costner in a small but moving performance, along with Jeremy Strong, Chris O’Dowd and Canadian-born Graham Greene (Greene and Costner previously worked together on Dances With Wolves). Michael Cera plays a character by the name of “Player X”; while Bloom did not give up the identity of the majority of the Hollywood royalty that played at her games, from what I was able to read online it is believed that “Player X” is in fact Spider-Man actor Tobey Maguire.
While Sorkin’s script and the great performances are the most impressive aspect of the film, I would be remiss not to acknowledge his impressive efforts as director. While the look of the film wasn’t anything groundbreaking, it was a very solid first time in the director’s chair. According to IMDB, Sorkin often consulted with his friend David Fincher (who directed Sorkin’s Social Network script). Sorkin also looked to Kevin Coster for advice, as Costner is an Oscar-winning director himself.
Overall I was very impressed by the film, and thoroughly enjoyed it. As I write this, the Golden Globes are a mere few hours away; I will be very curious to see if Sorkin ends up taking home the Best Screenplay award, or if Chastain is able to snag the Best Actress- Drama award. Highly recommended.
Ryan Mackett is an artist and film enthusiast who resides in Thunder Bay. Email questions or comments to him at email@example.com.