"glorious concoction of poignant dialogue and powerful performances"
Jessica Chastain. That name. These two words. Enough reason to get me to watch any film. She is a great actress. I love her powerful yet vulnerable performances. She sets the bar high and she never disappoints. Brilliant every single time. In Molly’s Game she is giving one of the best performances of her career. I am still trying to process what I have just experienced.
Molly’s Game is based on the memoir Molly's Game: From Hollywood's Elite to Wall Street's Billionaire Boys Club, My High-Stakes Adventure in the World of Underground Poker by Molly Bloom, a woman dubbed the “real life poker princess” by tabloids. A woman who overcame tremendous setbacks in her life. A woman succeeding in a man’s world. In short, a woman right up Chastain’s alley.
The film depicts the life of Molly Bloom as she becomes the target of an FBI investigation due to her hosting underground poker games for anyone with a big wallet, including - unbeknown to her - Russian mobsters. Starring alongside Jessica Chastain are Idris Elba as Molly’s lawyer Charlie Jaffey and Kevin Costner as her father.
Throughout the film I marvelled at the sharp and witty dialogue, delivered to perfection by the entire cast. Chastain and Elba especially have irresistible chemistry every time they share the screen. It is a joy to watch such high-level performers work with an equally brilliant script, imbue the writing with a life of its own, firing zingers left and right at lightning speed that the audience sometimes has a hard time keeping up.
And this is where Chastain surprised me. With her uncanny comedic timing. I can’t even remotely put this into words, it has to be seen to be believed. After watching her performance in Molly’s Game I desperately want to see the dramatic powerhouse try her hand at comedy. She delivers every line with perfect timing and impeccable nuance, chewing each word until maximum result has been achieved.
When Aaron Sorkin’s name flashed across the screen as the credits rolled it all made sense. Sorkin’s writing is famous. For a reason. Even if somehow you do not recognise the name, you would have to have lived under a rock never to have heard words written by the renowned writer. In addition to writing the screenplay, Molly’s Game is also Sorkin’s directorial debut. With a script laden with social commentary, Sorkin manages to ground the story of Molly Bloom and add layer upon layer of meaning to his film. Instead of going the frenzied tabloid route he shows us the real Molly behind it all. And Chastain rises to the occasion, devouring the witty dialogue like the delectable feast it is.
Sorkin is not known for writing great female characters - with a few exceptions - so his take on the Molly Bloom story surprises, in a good way. I’m sure Chastain would not have taken the role otherwise. She is known for taking on roles in an adverse environment, namely a woman succeeding in a man’s world. And she does it so well. Molly’s Game is no exception other than she has never done it better. She delivers one of the best performances of the year, one if not the best of her career so far.
Molly’s Game is a glorious concoction of poignant dialogue and powerful performances. The entire cast is remarkable. From Chastain all the way down to the smallest role, everyone plays off of each other almost too perfectly. But you won't have time to notice as the fast paced dialogue - Sorkin’s trademark - takes on a life of its own. The flow of the film is breath taking. Words spouted at breakneck pace, zingers flying left and right, too many at times, too much to take in. Never a dull moment.
This film is a must see for Chastain alone. Add the poignant script, witty dialogue and co-stars like Elba and Costner and how could you resist? Add a brilliantly interwoven story that surprises as much as it is predictable the film will have you entertained from start to finish. Setting the tone with its brilliantly told prologue, Molly's Game keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout thanks to superb writing and captivating performances.
Combining a powerhouse actor like Jessica Chastain with a brilliant writer like Aaron Sorkin is the dream team I never knew I was looking for. Chastain armed with Sorkin's writing is unbeatable. She is a marvel to behold. I feel like a little kid in a candy store having just watched one of the most well written and acted films of the year. Subtle, funny, to the point and entertaining. What more could you wish for? Perhaps not to have to wait until its official release in December. Seriously, do I have to wait that long to see it again?! What are you still doing here? Stop reading and book your tickets!