Celebrity status is sometimes not all it’s cracked up to be, especially in these days where every eye and ear is monitoring for a juicy story. This was never truer than the case of Molly Bloom, the former Olympian turned lawbreaker all through the flip of a card. If you’re like me, you had no clue about this tale, but thankfully the studios have pulled together another cinematic marvel to tell another story. Will this movie live up to hype and do a biography right, or is it just another glory trip to pull our addictions and con out our hard earned money? Robbie K here is back with yet another review on the latest movies to hit the theater. Let’s get started.
The Costumes/Wardrobe: As a reviewer, I strive to appreciate all aspects of a movie, including the wardrobe to make a part come to life. The department achieved its goal of designing outfits to fully portray the professionalism of Molly (Jessica Chastain), all while being a stunning sight for your eyes. Each dress, coat, and accessory beautifull accented Chastain’s naturally beauty, but also managed to reflect the attitude/mood of the scene. As the wardrobe reflected the emotional tension to indirectly add took the movie, it also serves as a fashion show for those who love this aspect
The Pace: The movie is one of the longer films this year at nearly 150 minute run time, and for a drama that can seem like a lifetime. Fortunately, the team did a stellar job keeping the pace quick and moving, but not so fast to devoid details. This balanced presentation kept my interest in the details without becoming too lost in the convoluted, emotional warfare that dramas are famous for. I at one point looked at my watch and stated, wow 90 minutes have already past, not something I normally see.
The Presentation of the story: Molly’s game is a very interesting tale to say the least, seeing the tribulations she faces and her character’s resilience to it all. Naturally, this is not the original tale, but the presentation helps pump life into the plot. One component is in the past, a self-told narrative guiding you through her journey up the ranks of the poker pit and the players who participated in it. The second component are the events of her case presentation, where she and her lawyer work to uncover the psychological game going on in Molly’s head. These two parts constantly wrap around themselves during the movie, each part escalating the tension of the adventure and guiding you to the goal of what the consequences will be of Molly’s choices. This presentation has been done before, but this movie really finessed it, possibly leading to the pace I enjoyed so much.
The Writing: I agree with fellow reviewers that the writing in this movie is one of the strongest pillars this movie is based on. It’s realistic, it’s emotional, and it’s clever on many fronts as it balances various ploys to make the lines come to life. Well-timed sarcasm, monologues that convey a large emotional spectrum, and the dialogue itself feels very realistic, but yet has enough magic in it to charge the scenes with that fire you strive for in a drama. And with this strong foundation, the acting has a base to spring off of for award winning performances.
The Acting: Hands down though, the acting of this movie is what brought it too life and tied all these pieces together. The supporting cast of secondary characters did their jobs well, capturing the pompous, greedy nature of the gambling addicts and mixing in the frat boy irresponsibility that Molly describes. Michael Cera and Kevin Costner shine in their moments that speak of the great writing that this film has to offer. Hands down though, it’s the two leads who deserve the most credit. Idris Elba continues to show off his skills, portraying intelligence, concern, parentage, and moral obligations to craft an engaging opposite for Chastain work with. He anchors Molly’s strong will and turns into constructive storytelling, all while bringing the benign terms of law to a relevant life.
Yet it is Jessica Chastain who does most of the heavy lifting in this movie, playing the title character and running with it on all levels. In addition to the looks (both in similarity to Molly and stunning fashion), Chastain brings Molly to life on all fronts. You feel the suffering in the character, and almost get pulled into the mental struggles that hit her as the moral tests come at her from all fronts. She manages to keep all the emotion in check, and crafts a complex character that has your opinion shifting of her over the course of the film. The directors managed to design so much in this role that is going to inspire and empower many to achieve the greatness she portrays. I hope she wins the best actress for this film, because she was phenomenal.
The Hollywood glamor: It’s always tough to write this dislike, but you have to wonder how much Hollywood buffing they put into the film. Of all the biographies I have seen, I feel this one was one of the more grounded tales that hit both sides of the argument.
The Editing Direction: For the most part this movie is solid in terms of run time and details. However, there was extra fluff at times that was unnecessary for me. Some of the montages involving clients making jerks of themselves didn’t seem necessary for me and added unneeded length to the film. The result was a few boring parts that were a little tiring, but even these weren’t the worst I have ever seen. Outside of a little tightening on the dialogue, there wasn’t much for this category to comment on.
The Jargon: Perhaps the most unenjoyable thing about this movie for me is the heavy use of jargon in this movie. Molly’s game is loaded with poker, law, and business lingo that many audience members may not appreciate during the heated moments. It adds the intelligence quotient to the mix, but without the definitions in front of you, and the amount of traffic in the scenes, this is the weakest aspect of the writing. Positive side, it inspires me to research these terms, but in the heat of the moment it’s a little overhwhelming.
Molly’s game is a great movie that is an artful representation of biography meeting drama. A blending of smart writing, an engaging presentation and incredible talent to bring it all to life is what you’ll get in this movie, and much of it is held in the arms of Chastain. Her character has so much for audiences to grasp on to and in the case of female goers, empowering performances shine bright in this film. Yes the movie is not original, and it is subject to Hollywood magic fluffing things up as well as some jargon heavy dialogue. Yet, this movie still wins for one of the better dramas to grace the theater in a while. I highly recommend a vist to the theater for this one.
Movie Overall: 8.0