Molly's Game

January 12, 2018 - From Olympic-caliber skier to high-stakes poker maven, Molly Bloom reached the height of her game before being taken down swiftly and suddenly. Jessica Chastain has the title role, Kevin Costner is her demanding dad, and Idris Elba is her attorney. Aaron Sorkin directs and co-wrote the script based on Bloom's book.

The movie opens with Molly's career as a freestyle skier coming to a crashing end. She wipes out on a run and suffers severe injuries. About a year later, she's recovered and looking for a new start. She moves to Los Angeles because it's sunny and warm. She gets a job with a developer who also runs a secret high-stakes poker game. Before long, Molly is running the game. And soon after that, she takes the biggest players, including a big-name actor she refers to as "Player X" (Michael Cera), and sets up her own game.

Everything is great for a while. Molly has regular players and she treats them well – even when they owe her a lot of money. But, eventually, she crosses Player X and he essentially shuts down the game. Molly is persona non grata in LA, so she moves her game to NYC. When one or two of her clients lose so much money that it puts the game at risk, Molly starts skimming from the pot, and that's when the feds come after Molly and her money.

Overall review: *** Chastain is solid, and Sorkin's script keeps things moving along nicely. Through narration, Molly explains the ins and outs of poker. Most of it went over my head, but you still get the gist of what's going on. Molly definitely has a story to tell and this film tells it well.