Molly’s Game

Molly's Game

This dramatic biography has the familiar Aaron Sorkin snap and crackle, but why doesn’t it have any pop?

Sure, it’s great to see a sleek and steely Jessica Chastain charge through every scene, recreating the rise and fall story of Molly Bloom, a former Olympic skiier turned high stakes poker game runner. For a while, it’s fun to watch as a woman reinvents herself, rising through some rather peculiar ranks to become a powerful businesswoman. But let’s not forget, although she seemed to, that Molly’s business, as semi-legal as it was for a while, was rather dodgy. Walking a line as thin as her stilletto heels, Molly tried to have it all, glamour, money, power. But the road she chose led to some dangerous fellow travelers and, soon, Molly’s not just down, she’s out. Or was she? The government didn’t think so and the spine of this story is Molly’s legal battle, represented by aide de camp Charlie Jeffey (a wonderful Idris Elba) intertwined with the daddy battle, represented by an also dandy Kevin Costner.

This movie, thanks to Sorkin’s signature timing and smart dialogue, is entertaining, but I couldn’t help but feel it also could have been so much more. It’s unfortunate that this piece, about a not particularly likeable woman, is debuting at a time when we could use all the heroines we can get. I love a good bad guy as much as anybody, but Molly, at least as written here, doesn’t even qualify for that. She’s quasi sympathetic, quasi tougher than nails and mostly someone I probably wouldn’t trust in a game of Go Fish.