Molly’s Game (2017)

  • Okay, here’s the thing about this movie – I really do not care about any of the other aspects of filmmaking, when it comes to this particular film – save for one: the screenplay. I don’t care about anything else, because Aaron Sorkin wrote the screenplay, and anything he writes is worth my & anyone else’s time, because he’s the fucking best. No one writes like Aaron Sorkin. The end.
  • Anyway – now that I’ve got that cleared up – I really enjoyed the rest of this film, too.
  • Jessica Chastain was fantastic in this & I think she is suited perfectly to deliver Sorkin lines. She really succeeded in portraying her character with depth & dimension, and I am, as ever, supremely impressed by her.

(Edit: I loved how this movie just let this woman’s story play out, and let you determine on your own that wow, this was a powerful, worthy-of-your respect, female character. THE POST (2017) did not do that. After seeing the way female empowerment was cheesily pointed out in that film, I gained a huge amount of admiration for the way it was handled in this one. Bravo, team. Bravo.)

  • Unlike Jessica Chastain, I don’t think Idris Elba (in the role of Charlie Jaffey, Molly Bloom’s lawyer) ever really found the Sorkin rhythm. That’s not to say he didn’t succeed in his role, because he did – but I think there were several moments – in scenes between him & Chastain – where the emphasis & timing wasn’t quite nailed, in the way Sorkin lines & scenes are typically designed to be.
  • I wonder if slight misses like that were made because Sorkin was also directing this. Like – if his focus on other things about the scenes and the way they were being shot let half-second rushes in delivery pass, whereas if he was just honed in on the script, they wouldn’t have. You’d think it’d be the opposite – him being able to direct the way the lines are delivered…but – well, who knows.
  • Jessica Chastain’s wardrobe was gorgeous. (Credit: Susan Lyall.)
  • Kevin Costner did well as Molly’s father. (Look at him go! That’s back-to-back years making appearances in highly relevant & successful films!) (Last year it was HIDDEN FIGURES.) Michael Cera did well as Player X (*cough*…Tobey Maguire…*cough*). Chris O’Dowd did well as Douglas Downey, the drunk New Yorker poker-playing informant. Bill Camp as Harlan Eustice, the poor poker addict who lost everything? Excellent.

(None of those performances were overwhelmingly memorable – but they also weren’t really written to be.)

  • I liked the film’s past/present composition – I thought that was well-designed & well-handled.
  • Ultimately, I think Aaron Sorkin should have had someone else direct this for him. I’m all about having & practicing new skills (and his end product here was pretty darn great) – but like – he’s so good at the one thing – he really doesn’t have to be super good at a second.
  • The Gage Whitney screensaver (a West Wing reference) in Idris Elba’s office was easily my favorite part of the movie (and there were lots of good parts, trust me). That little Easter egg had me smiling from ear-to-ear on my drive home from the theater, though.
  • This was a solid film – though not the best of the year. Maybe top ten. Absolutely recommend, solely because of the Sorkin script. There really is no one like him.

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