Movie: Molly’s Game
Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)
Review: Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain) was on the U.S. Ski Team, pushed hard to succeed by a demanding father (Kevin Costner), and about to make it to the Olympics when her world crashed around her. Smart as a whip with a 3.92 GPA in college with plans to go to law school, Molly decides to head to Los Angeles to figure out where her life should go. Needing to make a living, she does the cocktail waitress thing, and attracts the attention of a rich developer who needed an assistant. As a sideline, the dude was running a high stakes poker game in West Hollywood, and soon Molly was invaluable in helping him line up players and track the money paid on a computer spread sheet. Molly, smart lady that she was, kept her ears open to the poker lingo, and observed how the men who consistently won played their cards, like card shark Player X (Michael Cera), and became an expert at Texas Hold ‘Em poker.
Fast forward a few years and Molly is the sole owner and operator of the biggest and most sought after poker game in Los Angeles. Big name actors and producers were regulars, as well as millionaire athletes and titans of industry. Players better have $250,000 on them, because that was the cost of a buy-in to play at Molly’s games. Molly was making a bundle for herself, and even doing it legally. And yet, it all came tumbling down. Enter the FBI, criminal charges, and Charlie Jaffey (Idris Elba), the legal eagle trying to keep Molly out of jail.
This film is a fascinating story, in part because it is based on the real life trials and tribulations of a real person named Molly Bloom. The story veers away from a strictly factual plot in a few ways, but the gist of Molly Bloom’s travails are on the screen. Jessica Chastain gives a powerful performance as Molly, and should be a cinch to get a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her portrayal. The movie as a whole is well worth your time, and anyone who is knowledgeable about poker will be enthralled with the action at the tables. Go see this one.
Mini Trailers: Molly – “I was about to land on my digitally remastered spine held together with an erector set.”
Molly – “I wanted to be young for a while, in warm weather. My job was to get people to spend more money than they needed to.”
Molly’s Boss, Dean – “Tip Molly if you want to be invited back next week.” Molly – “I just made $3,000.”
Jaffey – “You need a publicist.” Molly – “I need a f*cking lawyer!”
Lawyer – “You’re not taking a percentage of the pot? Then you’re not breaking the law.”
Player X – “I don’t like playing poker.” Molly – “Then why do you play?” Player X -“I like destroying lives.”
Molly’s Father – “I’m your father. I could give a shit as to whether I am welcome in your life.”
Jaffey – “If you are saying that everything that happened to you was designed to make you plead guilty, you are correct.”
Molly’s Father – “Your addiction is having power over powerful men. I’m going to do what patients have been begging for. I’m going to do three years of therapy in three minutes and give you the answers.”
Nitnoid Info: The movie mentions how casinos put scents into the air to increase the urge to gamble. According to scenting experts, it’s smart to emphasize cleanliness in the development of casino scents because it has an effect on perception, especially in casinos where patrons spend days not hours within the service environment. Signature casino scents are all different as often each hotel is trying to invoke a different region of the world; The Mirage is Polynesian; Mandalay Bay is Southeast Asian and the Bellagio whispers of Northern Italy.
The success of defining these scents starts with understanding that the third sense as being very tricky. (It isn’t like a story with three different sides; his, hers and the truth.) Everyone takes in the aroma, whatever it is, exactly the same way. The difference in reaction lies in the memories associated with that aroma, which are different for everyone. That said, there are certain guides with which scenting strategists works; citrus aromas are refreshing; floral, cedar and other woodsy scents are soothing and relaxing as are herbaceous aromas which can also be invigorating, such as peppermint.
What Was Not In The Movie: Molly Bloom was very careful to not reveal the names of famous people who played in her poker games. Some names have slipped out, including Ben Affleck, Leo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Yankee star Alex Rodriguez. Of yes, and that mysterious and ruthless Player X appears to be actor Tobey Maguire.