If not for the fact that it’s all true, you’d be rolling your eyes at the improbability of this story – and that’s what makes it all the more riveting.
Based in part on Molly Bloom’s memoir by the same name, Molly’s Game is a lively retelling of Bloom’s entrepreneurial foray into the high-stakes world of poker after her Olympic skiing career was snap frozen by a devastating fall.
Jessica Chastain is convincing and captivating as the gutsy yet vulnerable Bloom. Apart from being in almost every scene, Chastain also delivers a sports commentator paced narration, which is sometimes fatiguing, but mostly provides necessary details and emotional cues that might otherwise be impossible to convey.
Idris Elba is the at-first-hesitant then utterly committed lawyer, Charlie Jaffey, in a superbly nuanced performance. And there are a host of colourful characters around the card table.
If the film has a weakness, it’s the aside scenes with Kevin Costner as Molly’s father. They strive for an emotional temperature that just hasn’t had time to build and account for the movie stretching the friendship at two hours twenty minutes.
It’s a minor point. For the most part this film is gripping, fascinating, and funny.
Reviewed by Rita Bratovich.