By Marc S. Sanders
Despite being a little distracted by a drunk patron sitting next to me, I thought Molly’s Game was very good. It doesn’t measure up to The Social Network, and I feel justified in comparing the two because the sharp, fast dialogue follows what appears to be an intentionally similar narrative from writer, and here director, Aaron Sorkin.
Sorkin in his directorial debut uses great techniques for film editing to match the beats of his dialogue. His opening voiceover of Jessica Chastain as Molly describing the ultimate worst sports experience will get your heartbeat racing. It draws you into the film right away.
Chastain is good, but maybe a little over the top. I needed a little more convincing that she was actually this brilliant, inventive and resourceful woman who was also considered one of the world’s greatest skiers. Can’t put my finger on it but something was missing with her playing the Molly Bloom role. Was she really holding her own against these high stakes guys who take big risks in her personally constructed poker ring? I’m just not sure.
Felt the same about Kevin Costner in the role of her father. He’s supposed to be an incredibly brilliant psychologist and an intimidating patriarch. Yet Costner doesn’t fit that mold for me here. Couldn’t feel the pressure from Dad on his daughter. Someone else might have been stronger.
Michael Cera too. I think he is playing a combination variation of Tobey Maguire & Leonardo DiCaprio, two of the most famous celebs that participated in the real Molly Bloom’s underground poker games, but Michael Cera? Really? He doesn’t carry the weight or looks of guys like that. There just was not enough power or presence from him.
None of these actors were the worst options for this cast, I just think the film could have used more appropriate performers. There was more appropriate talent out there, I’m sure.
Idris Elba is great, however. He’s blessed with an awesome Sorkin monologue in the 3rd act of the film, and he hits every note.
A great script. A great story worthy of being a big screen film and it’s got me interested to learn more about the real Molly Bloom, including reading her novel.