What’s worse: having everything you have been working toward taken away or having everything you own taken away by the FBI? How about both?
“Molly’s Game” is a film directed and written by Aaron Sorkin. The film is based on the true story about Molly Bloom, played by Jessica Chastain, and encompasses crime, adventure and high society. Molly’s world was shaped around her skiing career in Colorado, and after she blew out her back, she faced a crippling depression that ended up having little to do with her injury.
The movie shows many consequences of Bloom’s father pushing her too hard as a child. As a thoroughbred athlete, she was raised to follow the rules and never give up. Once her athletic career came to a halt due to a freak injury, she decided to take a break from her strenuous lifestyle and become a cocktail waitress in Los Angeles. A wealthy real estate agent introduced her to the world of underground poker. She then took over the game and ran it alongside “Player X,” played by Michael Cera, who symbolized real-life celebrity players like Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Affleck and Tobey Maguire.
After Molly was put into this crowd of millionaire poker players, she was determined to make it the best in history. “You know what makes you feel OK about losing? Winning,” Molly said. Once she made the decision to run an illegal poker game, she had trouble stepping away from it and was forced to face the consequences.
We see Molly’s endurance was manifested by her father in her early years of ski training. Her father, played by Kevin Costner, was a psychologist who pushed her to a point of no return in her training at an early age. The mental consequences of her intense childhood were magnified when she went to extreme lengths to keep her game running.
One of the best parts of Sorkin’s movie is the viewers get to experience Molly’s life with her. Parts of the film feel as if you are Molly Bloom, you are watching millions of dollars being circulated around a table and you see lives being destroyed by having one bad hand in the game. The viewers also get to learn the game with Molly. We learn how to command a room and speak to the celebrities in a way that demands respect.
Sadly, we also learn that great power comes with great responsibility. The real magic of Sorkin’s rendition of Molly’s story lies in how she reacts to her failure for the second time. Instead of moving across the country similar to after her skiing accident, she ran to alcohol and drugs. Viewers see her addiction building, and realize her problem. This may have been left out in other versions of her story, but it has such an important role that it shouldn’t be.
Movies based on real events are taking over the cinematic and theatrical scene. They allow the audience to get to know the backstory of a person depicted in the news or textbooks. “Molly’s Game” is no exception. Molly is a multidimensional person whose story is just as complex as she is.
The movie lets the viewer decide how to feel about Molly Bloom. In no way is Sorkin trying to persuade us to feel bad for Molly Bloom, nor is he trying to get us to hate her — truly an accomplishment for any director.