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 recognizable in a zillion 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 game for business execs and Hollywood elites. 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, at ease with Sorkin’s language) moments before a freak accident curtails her career. Following her recovery, she halts her law school plans and moves to L.A., where a shady businessman (Jeremy Strong) offers an intro to his underground poker games. From there, Molly—provocatively costumed to intimidating effect—takes over, upgrades the client list and unwittingly gets mixed up with organized crime. When the FBI raids her home, she hires ethically torn New York lawyer Charlie Jaffey (Idris Elba) to run her defense.
Despite an underbaked effort to boil Molly’s defiance down to a father-daughter story—an overindulged Sorkin instinct in Steve Jobs too—Molly’s Game rips along at an exciting 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.
Cast and crew