By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
Sacramento, California native Jessica Chastain
(“Zero Dark Thirty”) shines once again in the gripping, true drama, “Molly’s Game”
from Aaron Sorkin
in his directorial debut.
Chastain, who last year starred in the excellent movie “Miss Sloane,” turns up the heat with “Molly’s Game.” Chastain recently received a “Best Actress” nomination from the Critics’ Choice Awards for her role here and the film got a nod for “Best Adapted Screenplay.”
"Molly's Game" which is based on the 2013 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, tells the fascinating story of how Molly launched a lucrative underground poker empire for high rollers in the entertainment, business and sports world, but was targeted and brought down by the FBI.
This wasn’t the life that Molly envisioned while growing up in Loveland, Colorado with her father, a clinical psychologist/teacher at Colorado State University and her mother, a ski and snowboard instructor.
Molly was determined to become a competitive skier and was ranked third in North America among women's skiers.
But her life’s dream changed in seconds after a freak accident during a qualifying run at the Salt Lake City Olympic trials that injured her back and forced her to quit skiing.
Her back up plan was law school, but that required a lot of money. So, Molly got a part-time job and on the side helped run a private poker game for Dean Keith (Jeremy Strong, “Detroit”).
Their relationship didn’t last long and she was fired, but Molly remembered all the high rollers Dean brought in and decides to build her own poker empire in Los Angeles.
Things start out slow, but the tips are soon big enough that before long Molly is branching out and diving into the business. It’s a bold move and one that pays off handsomely.
What started as once-a-week games turns into a nightly affair. Everyone who is anyone wants a piece of this action from movie stars to business tycoons and high profile athletes.
Molly knows the game and she knows the business too which is why she hires some very attractive female assistants. They bring in even more super wealthy men.
The money continues to roll in even from guys like “Bad Brad” (Brian D’Arcy James, “Spotlight” and TV’s “13 Reasons Why”) who is one of the worst gamblers in the world, but skates by on luck more than anything else.
Not everyone is as fortunate. Molly can’t do much for Harlan (Bill Camp, “Hostiles”) a big loser drowning in debt.
Molly’s gig has become a real hot spot. So much so, that word gets out to the Feds that Molly is colluding with members of the Russian Mafia. The FBI bust in and raid the place.
That shakedown leads her to the office of elite defense attorney Charlie Jaffey (a fantastic Idris Elba, “The Mountain Between Us”) who after some wrangling, agrees to take the case providing she can pay him of course.
There are setbacks and a few plot twists that involve Molly’s father (Kevin Costner, “Hidden Figures”) which turn “Molly’s Game” into a real high stakes drama.
“Molly’s Game” also firmly establishes Sorkin as a skilled director and hopefully will place Chastain at the top of the heap this Awards season.
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Check Out This Trailer For "MOLLY'S GAME"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), the Black Reel Awards Voting Academy and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.