Based on the true story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-class skier, the film “Molly’s Game”, directed by Aaron Sorkin gives an intriguing insight in the the high stakes game of poker played almost exclusively by men with deep pockets. Jessica Chastain gives a superb performance, as Molly, the “Poker Princess” who ran underground poker games in upscale locations and found innovative ways to attract high rolling men, Hollywood celebrities, athletes and ultimately mobsters.
Molly was an extremely successful athlete who suffered a back problem requiring surgery and insertion of a plate to hold her spine straight. She was advised to not ski competitively. But she was driven and would not quit that easily. Molly got back in the game and was well on her way to Olympics level participation when she suffered a terrible accident on the slopes that shattered young athlete’s dreams for competitive sports. Unable to ski and unhappy with her father, she left home. She shifted her focus to law school but then postponed it and moved to Los Angeles saying, “I wanted to be young for a while in warm weather”. That small detour from her goal of law school, took her down a path she had not imagined. Homeless and jobless, she first got to crash on her friend’s couch, got a job to make ends meet and then got an after hours second job that propelled her into the world of gambling.
By all accounts, the film is faithful to its subject, Molly Bloom. Her rise among the high net worth world mostly occupied by men, and her subsequent fall when FBI came knocking on the door are mere milestones in her journey. The film offers much more, including her getting beat up by the mob, her attorney’s (Idris Elba) strategy to negotiate with the FBI so she is not required to spend days in prison, Molly’s adamant refusal to cut any deals that would compromise the men who played at her tables; all of these seem like intriguing milestones. And then there is a small segment of her conversation with her psychologist father (Kevin Costner), that is both heart wrenching and heart warming and may define her future journey. Let’s just say, Molly’s journey begins with the help of her high achieving father with high expectations of her and her siblings, and Molly’s journey takes a definite transformational turn with short three question therapy session with her father (Kevin Costner).
Molly’s game is a fast paced drama with a fascinating peek into the high stakes word of private gambling and insight into how one incredibly brave and smart young woman’s life went off course from her goals, not once, not twice, but three times and journey may just be starting for next promising stage of her life. On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being excellent, I rate the film as 4.7. Yes, I loved it.