‘Molly’s Game’ Review Roundup: Jessica Chastain Gives Stellar Performance In Molly Bloom Biopic
Jessica Chastain stars in the Aaron Sorkin drama Molly’s Game, which tells the true story of Olympic-class skier Molly Bloom. Despite being a skier, Bloom was known for running an exclusive high-stakes poker game for decades before the FBI shut her down and arrested her one night. Players who bet money in the game included Hollywood royalty, star athletes, titans of business, as well as the Russian mob. Despite being smeared by tabloids, Bloom found an ally in her criminal defense lawyer Charlie Jaffey.
Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, Jeremy Strong, and Chris O’Dowd co-star in the film, which received an impressive 82% on Rottentomatoes.
MOLLY’S GAME REVIEW ROUNDUP
“Molly’s Game is the stylish and absorbing directorial debut of Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network, The West Wing). Working from a script that he adapted from Bloom’s memoir, Sorkin crafts a fast-moving tale of risky business, crammed with the kind of snappy dialogue for which he’s famous. But the film wouldn’t work quite as well without Chastain, who turns in an Oscar-worthy performance as a determined woman who always has another angle to explore. She gets deep inside Molly’s skin, exposing her insecurities while showcasing her strengths. And her scenes opposite a never-better Elba, who is still best known for his work on HBO’s The Wire, sizzle with electricity. This is a ‘Game’ that couldn’t be more fun to watch.”
–Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“[The] trademark, Sorkinian back-and-forth dialogue is exhilarating, even if it doesn’t reveal a lot about [the characters’] interior lives. If Molly has a boyfriend, or a sweet tooth, or a cat, you won’t find out from what’s onscreen. But Sorkin makes the finer points of poker — and legal maneuvering — crystal clear. Some of the clarity comes from that snappy dialogue, some from voiceovers that fill in when the folks onscreen have to catch their breath. And even though this is Sorkin’s directing debut, quite a bit of the clarity comes from the visuals, annotated when necessary, precisely shot and edited with nearly every trick known to contemporary filmmaking. It doesn’t hurt that Sorkin’s cast is as whip-smart as the lines they’re delivering. Molly’s Game is a dense, complicated movie, made by a guy who excels at — who positively glories in — making the dense and complicated enormously entertaining.”
–Bob Mondello, NPR’s “All Things Considered”
“It’s tempting to think of Molly’s Game in poker terms: Sorkin’s holding a queen, a king, and at least a couple of aces, but the tell is that he talks too much, and in the end you realize he’s bluffing.”
–Ty Burr, The Boston Globe
“It’s a good, brash biopic. For the first hour it’s very nearly terrific… Like Sorkin’s Oscar-winning Social Network screenplay, this one’s a shrewd welter of flashbacks and present-day scenes… [Some] later scenes hark back to some of the lesser sequences in Sorkin’s Steve Jobs script. The best of Molly’s Game, however, is more on the Social Network level, edgy and rhythmic. This is Sorkin’s feature directorial debut, and I’m happy to say it doesn’t look that way.”
–Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune