Meet Molly Bloom. Twelve years after a stray branch ended her Olympic skiing career in a crash, her illegal gambling operation sent her on trial. From her teen life onward, she has had no heroes, nor does she trust anyone; thus she started to rebel against male domination through an operation in games of poker in 2003. Her routine attracted countless players across the nation, plus celebrities Ben Affleck, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Tobey Maguire. As she managed these hot-headed men, eyeshadow and mascara buried her face, perhaps designed to complement the various displays of all that her beautiful cleavage can do.
In the first five minutes of Molly’s Game, you learn her traits beyond being a stereotypical steamy Vegas chick, thanks to the famous actress in Molly’s role. Jessica Chastain’s (The Help, Zero Dark Thirty) smooth husky voiceover narration sucks you in right away, a portrayal depicting the true anti-wife identified by her greed. Then once the worst thing hits her operation, Chastain slows down her expressions into a sad conflicted face.
You learn lots of information about the other people she meets in the way they talk down at each other. Each connection made between the characters starts off effectively tense, driven by gender dominance, then several later turn quite personal, guaranteed to sway you parents out there. Molly’s court attorney even forced his daughter to read The Crucible, setting off common daddy issues between the two that creates a more believable relationship. Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation), one of the film’s several noteworthy actors, deserves some well-earned awards buzz from the way he plays off Chastain as the court attorney.
Molly’s autobiography of the same name, adapted by Aaron Sorkin (A Few Good Men, The Social Network) fluidly translates clever informative expositions, beyond just the chilly narrative dialogue, into a nonlinear narrative which explains around poker’s rules to describe Molly's legal case. The dialogue focuses in on everyone’s discussion about the law in relation to convincing Molly about the true worst thing ever. Case in point: one consultant tells her at the start of her operation, “Don’t break the law while breaking the law.”
It’s quite transparent however that Sorkin is a first-time director: his efforts to generate sympathy, as much as it accomplishes the job’s necessities, pays off relatively little to match the genuine intended joy on Molly’s part. The fast edit cuts spliced amongst still images and historical tapes straight up copies the visual style of The Big Short, except with bland pacing alongside an often-defocused camera. Ultimately, the visual decisions around Molly scrambles the subject of people’s worship without enough originality.
Molly’s grudges against the Russian mafia likewise draw back the experience a bit further, as if they’re merely plot devices in service of Vladimir Putin. In fact, through actions like the large amounts of Molly’s chest shown or the spicy descriptions about poker, Sorkin falls victim to the “Male Gaze,” meaning the way men and women dress/behave/etc. in the media caters to men’s sexual urges. Such a movie about a woman could have used a stronger authenticity under a Female Gaze! Other young women may consequently not see themselves in her place, and prefer an actress who resembles the real Molly Bloom in age and natural hair color, rather than watching some huge celebrity’s studio-push toward an Oscar.
I’m probably scraping the barrel right now, yet I still recommend this energized biopic! Thanks to the dialogue more so than the direction, the claustrophobic energy of illustrated geometric degree angles never dies off, apparently shuffling you into Molly’s deck while she deals her cards in the game of skill.
Of course, we’ve each had a traumatic turning point similar to her Olympics incident, but her legacy today reminds of a truth urgently closer to home than a stray tree branch in our path. It parallels the blame both sexes share for the other’s pain, teaching us how our own greed attracts crime. Amongst the current Hollywood sex scandals, we sincerely need the proper empowerment communicated in Molly’s game.
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see graded, or if you are interested in guest blogging for my site, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!
Dockterman, Eliana. “The True Story Behind the Movie Molly's Game.” TIME. Time Inc., 25 Dec 2017. Web. <http://time.com/5073577/true-story-mollys-game/>.
Molly’s Game. STX. Web. <http://mollysgame.movie/>.
Ransome, Noel. “The True Story Behind 'Molly’s Game' Is Wild.” Vice. 27 Dec 2017. Web. <https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/j5v5gp/the-true-story-behind-mollys-game-is-wild>.
Smith, Mike. “Molly’s Game.” Digital image. Moviehole. 26 Dec 2017. Web. <http://moviehole.net/2017128718mollys-game>.