Molly's Game reviews

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Re: Molly's Game reviews

Postby Sabin » Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:35 pm

I predicted that Aaron Sorkin would get a screenwriting nomination from the Hollywood Foreign Press (his seventh out of eight features written!) but had I seen Molly's Game, I likely wouldn't have done so. On the other hand, hey if you love Aaron Sorkin, you should love this. It features the legal framing device of 'The Social Network,' the explanatory voice-over of 'Moneyball,' and the Daddy issues of 'Steve Jobs.' It's a greatest hits album for a story that probably played better on the B-side. It feels very tidy, especially when it comes to Molly's drug addiction.

Some people have a problem with Aaron Sorkin's reliance on stock devices. I don't. Sorkinville is a world that I enjoy returning to when I don't find it insufferable (see 'The Newsroom'). But this isn't a very inspired chapter. Or maybe it could have been if a different actor had played Molly. Eventually it becomes clear that 'Molly's Game' is a character study in self-deception, as Molly is literally subjected to "a year's worth of therapy" in one bench session with her father. But there's nothing at the center of Jessica Chastain's performance. She's picked up the habit of playing guarded people, like Zero Dark Thirty's Maya, Elizabeth Sloane, and Molly Bloom, but when it comes time for them to reveal what's underneath, I feel nothing. Maybe another actor could've added the weight necessary for 'Molly's Game' to feel like it was going somewhere but not her. She's better than usual but I'm still not a believer.

I don't think that Aaron Sorkin thinks this story needs to be told, but rather this is a character we need to meet. I think she was miscast. The result is diverting, but a footnote in Sorkin's career.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

The Original BJ
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Re: Molly's Game reviews

Postby The Original BJ » Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:57 pm

In a way, Molly's Game feels like a throwback to an earlier era of filmmaking -- I mean, not THAT long ago, but let's say the '90's, when it was actually pretty common for Hollywood to regularly turn out smart, entertaining films for grown-ups that didn't feel confined to the awards season niche. Molly's Game may well get some nominations this season -- Sorkin's screenplay seems pretty likely, and Chastain/Elba seem like they'll at least be in the conversation -- but I think its pleasures are more on the entertainment side than the artistic one. I should clarify that I don't necessarily mean that as a pejorative, just simply that the film lacks the greater emotional depth that (I felt) elevated The Social Network and Steve Jobs to something greater.

One question I assume a lot of folks will ask -- how is Sorkin as a director? Well, he's clearly a writer first, and this script has all the pleasing hallmarks of Sorkin's work -- mile-a-minute dialogue, effortless weaving between multiple time frames, thematic exploration of capitalism in America. I'd say he directs a lot like he writes, keeping the images moving along fast and furiously, immersing the audience into the very specific world of high-stakes poker and basically letting us catch up with the details as the plot barrels along. I don't think he brings quite the level of visual imagination that Fincher and Boyle brought to his last scripts, but he serves his own voice well.

In particular, I think Sorkin's verbal flash does a pretty bang-up job of masking the fact that the true-life story at this film's core is, to put it frankly, not terribly notable. Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs created innovations that changed the world; Molly Bloom ran poker games that led her to commit some minor legal offenses, and there's a degree to which the stakes in this story feel a bit low. This becomes most apparent near the film's conclusion, where Molly's reasoning behind why she chooses to deal with her case in the way she does feels rather thin, and the ending just sort of dribbles away. This can be a challenge in true-life stories -- the way Molly's story actually did resolve just wasn't that interesting -- and while I don't think Sorkin finds his way around that hurdle, the fact that his film buzzes along winningly for so much of its running time is a testament to his panache as a writer.

This is a great part for Chastain, though I wouldn't say it showed a new side of her as an actress -- the character has a lot in common with Miss Sloane, which felt to a degree like a Sorkin creation. Still, she proves wonderfully adept with Sorkin's rat-a-tat dialogue, and has a real old-fashioned movie star presence that carries the movie along with great dynamism. And Elba provides a great sparring partner for her -- I don't think I've ever seen the actor feel so light and loose on screen, and Sorkin gifts him with the film's most pleasing monologue. Costner is fine, but doesn't really have much to do (and I actually thought his key "therapy session" scene with Chastain was a bit on-the-nose.)

Not perhaps a top-drawer candidate, but as Okri suggested, a solid Christmas entertainment.

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Re: Molly's Game reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Sat Sep 09, 2017 5:35 am

I like Jessica Chastain and do see her as an Oscar winner, but not for this.

Gambling films have a limited audience. Sorkin's films have too much clever dialogue for their own good. He's better suited to TV where his bon mots are more leisurely paced. Chastain's performance looks like a retread of Miss Sloane with way too much narration. It's off-putting. Oscar voters may be more inclined to champion her as 1890s portrait painter and activist Catherine Weldon in Woman Walks Ahead, which is being shown at Toronto, but has no distributor as yet. She's also got Oscar-baity roles as Tammy Wynette in George and Tammy and Ingrid Bergman in Seducing Ingrid Bergman about Bergman's affair with wartime photographer Robert Capa coming up. She'll get there sometime.

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Molly's Game reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:40 am

Those of you who were saying "Jessica Chastain - no" a few days ago might have to do a rethink. She's getting her best reviews since Zero Dark Thirty. The film seems a strong candidate for the less populated adapted screenplay category, as well. And Idris Elba/Kevin Costner are getting solid reviews. ... 202552430/ ... ew-1037071 ... 81.article

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