Poker is a game about taking risks and betting on odds, hoping that your hand will come up on top to claim the pot. "Molly’s Game" is that winning hand.
From the start, it grabs the attention of the audience and doesn’t let up until the credits roll across the screen.
The film tells the true story of Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain) who is an Olympic-level skier. An accident during a competition ends her career as a professional athlete. Looking for the next step, Bloom takes an office job.
Bloom is tasked by her boss to manage his high stakes poker game each week and keeping track of the money. Actors, athletes, politicians, bankers, and millionaires attend the game. Seeing an opportunity, Bloom takes the game over from her boss adds her own personality and style.
Her success attracts the attention of the FBI who launches an investigation. Bloom’s life is brought into court and is left with few options. Either hand over evidence to the FBI or defend herself.
An element that makes this movie come together is Molly’s role as she narrates the events of her life to the audience. During these monologues, she can become quite serious, providing depth to the scenes unfolding around her. Other times she is very cynical, often making jokes or observations of the people around her.
The film shows that despite going down this rabbit hole, Molly still has a sense of what is right and what is wrong. When presented with a deal that could give her life back she refuses. She states, “I will tell them everything about me, that’s it.”
A lot of movies that feature gambling at the center of the story are very entertaining but have a short shelf life. Two films that I like but fit that definition are “The Sting” and “Casino.”
Molly’s Game, on the other hand, is very uplifting. It shows that, despite all of the things a person has done in their life, redemption is possible. A scene that shows this moment is when Molly is talking with her father, Larry Bloom (Kevin Costner), in New York City.
The two had grown distant from each other due to Molly’s lifestyle and her father’s divorce from her mother. Sitting on a park bench, they work things out and barriers that were once there fade into memory.
To label “Molly’s Game,” just a movie about poker is wrong because it is much more than that. This movie rewards its audience with a great story that is told cleverly.
I give “Molly’s Game” four and a half out of five mustaches.
It is rated R for language, drug content, and some violence. It runs 140 minutes.