Time Out says
Aaron Sorkin and Jessica Chastain pool their formidable talents to tackle a larger-than-life story that bubbles with smarts.
Aaron Sorkin’s distinct verbal cadences have been so recognisable in so many movies and TV shows, it’s strange to think that he’s never directed any of them himself. Rise-and-fall poker tale Molly’s Game finally changes that. It’s a real-life story about a regular high-stakes Hollywood game. Unsurprisingly, the one-upmanship among arrogant gamblers and big cheeses fits effortlessly into Sorkin’s universe, resulting in a wild ride with smarts to burn.
We meet soon-to-be-ex-Olympic-skier Molly Bloom (a terrific Jessica Chastain) moments before a freak accident curtails her career. Following her recovery, she halts her law school plans and moves to LA, where a shady businessman (Jeremy Strong) offers an intro to his underground poker games. From there, she takes over, upgrades them and unwittingly gets mixed up with organised crime. When the FBI raids her home, she hires New York lawyer Charlie Jaffey (Idris Elba) to run her defence.
Despite an underbaked effort to boil Molly’s defiance down to a father-daughter story – an overindulged Sorkin instinct in Jobs too – Molly’s Game rips along at pace. A sharply judged edit stitches together three separate timelines, shaping Molly as a complex and razor-sharp character in a world dominated by entitled mansplainers. Forget Rounders – here’s a poker movie to go all-in on.
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Jessica Chastain was short-changed in not getting an Oscar nomination for this role. Entertaining fast paced film in the world of underground high-stakes poker games that is a thrill ride. Chastain's performance centers the film with a force of nature performance. As usual there's strong circumstances within this shady world of the rich, movie stars and shady characters within this closed room of high-rollers. The FBI and Russian mafia move in on Molly's world as Molly and her high-priced lawyer balances the situation in favour of Molly from the forces of the government and the permeating violence of the Russian mob. Smart dialogue and an entertaining film