Molly’s Game is the directorial debut of Aaron Sorkin, proving that he directs as well as he writes. In that his writing here is awful too.
Jessica Chastain plays Molly Bloom, a real-life Olympic-class skier turned poker mogul. Great, two of the world’s least interesting pastimes in the same film. Deal me out.
Grinding painfully between scenes of Bloom’s high-stakes poker games and her prosecution for alleged links to organised crime, Molly’s Game never convinces of anything other than Sorkin’s inexperience behind the camera.
Bloom is presented as someone determined to control her media image, which explains this film’s attempts to vindicate her despite being a confessed criminal. And not even a likeable one like Frank Abagnale or Leatherface.
The supporting cast are equally unconvincing. You don’t have to be expert in reading people to know that Chris O’Dowd doesn’t convince as an American. And as for casting Michael Cera as an aloof card shark… good golly.
It doesn’t help that Idris Elba’s character is called Jaffey like the late Robert Guillaume in Sorkin’s Sports Night, particularly as there’s a wonderful poker episode in that show’s first season.
Sorkin funnels all the worst aspects of his writing into the movie, including an obnoxious mansplaining therepy sequence and a character turning into a liberal mouthpiece at the most jaw-droppingly dreadful moment.
The film never explains why we should care about any of this, but does boast several of the worst scenes and lines of the year. Read ’em and weep: “I was in a hole so deep I could go fracking.”
Cringey, tacky and boring, Molly’s Game is a total flop.