140 minutes of pure drama, biography and serious gambling, written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, hit the box offices last winter, on December 25, 2017, introducing us to the underground world of illegal poker games, run by a powerful woman, Molly Bloom.
The movie is based on a true-life story of Molly Bloom, as written in her autobiography book Molly’s Game: From Hollywood’s Elite to Wall Street’s Billionaire Boys Club, My High-Stakes Adventure in the World of Underground Poker. The memoir depicts Molly’s life journey from a professional skier to a “poker princess”.
This fact-based crime story has a really good cast which includes brilliant Jessica Chastain portraying Molly Bloom; Idris Elba as Charlie Jaffey, Molly’s attorney, and Kevin Costner as Molly’s controlling father. Other inspiring actors include Chris O’Dowd, Graham Green, Michael Cera, Jeremy Strong, Brian d’Arcy James, Bill Camp, and J.C. MacKenzie.
The film focuses on Molly’s life story. Through flashbacks, the movie depicts her childhood years in Loveland, Colorado, as a professional skier who has the goal of competing at the Olympics, but whose dreams of fame are shattered when she suffers a terrible injury. It also details her relationship with her authoritative father, who always pushed her to be the best, thus forming her competitive character.
After that unfortunate event, Molly moves to Los Angeles, to distance herself from her overbearing father and her overachieving brothers. Her goal is to enroll in law school, so she begins working as a waitress for the bully of a boss, who introduces her to the world of underground poker games. When she starts serving the addictive gamblers at the secret poker room, she doesn’t know anything about poker. However, she uses her brilliantly intelligent mind to learn the ropes.
Having absorbed all she needed to know about organizing poker games, she decides to run her own, high-stakes underground game that exclusively includes big shots, such as Hollywood actors, wealthy business titans, sports elite, and the Russian mob. Not being able to have enough energy to live the stressful secret night-life, monitoring the games in an expensive hotel suite, Molly gradually starts abusing drugs and alcohol.
Following a dangerous conflict with a mobster, she decides to secure herself financially, and that is her first wrong move. She is then spotted by the FBI, which starts investigating her affairs. In the middle of the night, she is arrested by 17 armed FBI specialists. After her downfall, her only alley becomes her criminal defense lawyer Charlie Jaffrey, who learns that true Molly has a much deeper personality than the tabloids lead us to believe.
Jessica Chastain did an excellent job in the portrayal of the ambitious, beautiful, and gracious woman, as true-life Molly Bloom really is. She plays with great confidence the woman who uses her intelligence as a weapon in order to rule in the male-dominated world. She is completely in control of the character, just as Molly Bloom was in control of exploiting the weaknesses of other people, in order to profit and become successful. Overall, this powerful life drama is definitely worth seeing.