Molly's Game

In Cinemas Now

The directorial debut of Oscar-winning screenwriting Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network), based on the real-life misadventures of Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain). In the late 2000s Bloom established a high-stakes, international poker game that attracted billionaires, Hollywood elite, and eventually the FBI. Co-stars Idris Elba, Kevin Costner and Michael Cera.

Trailers

Directed by

Written by

Drama, True Story & Biography

140mins

Rating: M Mature themes, violence and coarse language

USA

Molly’s Game is based on the book about the rise-fall-rise-fall of a woman destined for Olympic glory who hit a giant twig on a ski slope and ended up making a shit-ton of money in the private poker game racket instead. It’s the real-life Molly Bloom re-imagined by Aaron Sorkin, the master screenwriter who has given us so much, including The West Wing and The Social Network. It marks his directorial debut; I nearly walked out. Occasionally that feeling of “life’s too short” starts to permeate the soul halfway through a film, just as the effects of the medication (wine, choc-covered hard-frozen cinema ice cream) wear off. 

On the upside, Sorkin’s dialogue crackles, and there’s a gossipy magic to proceedings. They offer a peek behind the curtain into the workings of these particular poker jokers, whose number include movie stars and hedge funders dropping millions in the presidential suite. There’s also a great supporting cast (esp Michael Cera, and The Night Of’s Bill Camp) and some Scorsese like flourishes, even some charming LOLs, thanks to a magic sauce called Chris O’Dowd. And it fair cracks along. So why the long face, why did the door beckon?

Theory: Sorkin's scattergun soap stylings need the restraint of an outside voice, a Lennon to his McCartney, a Danny Boyle to his Steve Jobs. Surely any other director worth their salt would have found a way to abort the films worst sin before it came anywhere near full term. Spoiler alert: Kevin Costner (Molly’s dad) turns up to psychoanalyse his daughter at a skating rink after she has some sort of on-the-ice meltdown. It was the moment I nearly bolted.

Jessica Chastain makes a good fist of Molly but it’s hard yakka when the character is starring in her own hagiography. It’s the cracks that let the light in, and I’m afraid that our boy Aaron has been too successful at covering them up. The game feels fixed.

Vanity Fair

press

Sorkin has made a canny, disjointed thriller of process and exposition, a sort of Goodfellas riff with a nerdy twist.

Variety (USA)

press

A dense, dynamic, compulsively entertaining affair, whose central role makes stunning use of Chastain's stratospheric talent.

Hollywood Reporter

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In his overdue directorial debut, Sorkin both entertains and makes you lean in to absorb every detail of this wild tale, which boasts a stellar cast to help tell it.

The Guardian (UK)

press

The experience of watching Molly's Game feels a bit like hearing a long, rambling story from someone high on something, a frantic, exhausting splurge of information that never truly justifies its existence.

Screen International

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Ferociously eloquent, densely packed with ideas, immensely entertaining, Molly's Game is a film which fetishes power and success, while also serving as a cautionary tale.

Vulture

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There's a lot missing in Molly's Game, especially regarding its protagonist's personal relationships. But what's there is dandy.

Collider

press

Sorkin approaches his directorial debut confidently and, thankfully, with ambition, juggling complex exposition with an exciting visual style. Molly's Game is highly entertaining and positively delightful watch.

Stuff.co.nz (James Croot)

press

If you enjoyed The Social Network or Steve Jobs, with their psychological insights, compelling characters, clever soundtrack choices and non-sequitur asides, then you'll love this.

FilmInk (Australia)

press

There’s nothing so enticing as being allowed a glimpse into a hidden world of power and privilege, and Molly’s world is certainly that…

This is a excellent watch

Fast paced, hectic, messy - I had a ball. Script is clever, performances are solid. Recommended.