“Molly’s Game” – A Movie Review


 I watched Molly’s Game, the movie a couple of days back, and believe me now, all I ever want to do is be Dolly, the Indian version of Molly Bloom, the woman who took the world of poker by storm.

Molly’s Game is the true story of Molly Bloom, former world class skier and ‘Poker Princess’.  Jessica Chasten of the Zero Dark Thirty fame is the actor that plays her, brilliantly, in this biopic. The film is based on the novel by the same name, written by Molly Bloom, herself.


When an accident destroys Molly’s sports career, she moves to LA to recuperate for a year before she starts law school.
She gets a waitressing job at a high end club where she meets her future boss, the obnoxious, “I don’t eat bagels from BlueBell because they are poor people bagels”, Dean (played by Jeremy Strong).

Dean introduces Molly to the poker world and has her set up a poker game which has a 10000 dollar buy in. The guest list of that game includes Hollywood stars, directors, business tycoons, politicians and the who’s who of America.

By the time the evening ends, Molly, the ever sharp, astute observer has learnt more than just the basics of the poker life, has earned a 3000 dollar tip and has hobnobbed with LA’s poshest glitterati. Molly is hooked.

She slowly builds a rapport with one Hollywood star at these games called Player X played by Michael Cera ( it is said that it is depiction of Toby Mcguire). He is a skilled poker player. Molly continues being Dean’s assistant till he kicks her out. But she only moves on to set a higher stake game where she is now the house, with the support of Player X.

Her games have a rolling of millions of dollars. (Yours truly, Dolly, would be happy with a few lakhs and SRK.) 

The movie takes you to the kinds of players there are, the kinds of hands there are and the kinds of drugs there are. There is enough poker vocabulary to keep the poker enthusiasts well entertained –nuts, fourth street, tilt, flop, full boat, etc…. As the movie unfolds, she becomes the Poker Princess and moves from LA to NYC where she holds the highest stake games in the world. 

She does this for 12 years, earns millions of dollars without playing herself, till the FBI arrests and indicts her for conducting illegal gambling. She is defended by the dishy hunk Idris Elba (of the Luther fame) who plays her lawyer Charlie Jaffey.  The portrayal of the case left a lot to be desired. Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay could have been fine tuned to include some entertaining courtroom scenes that this script so demands. What makes up for it though, are the scenes between Jessica and Elba, where you get a peek into her inherent decency and his deepening respect for her. 

Aaron Sorkin does good justification to the poker hands and on his hands is a good directorial debut. It is a must watch for poker enthusiasts if only to realize how much it is a game of skill and not so much a game of luck. Of course Dolly’s main take away was, don’t let your epitaph say you died trying to recover. Watch it to know why! 

It’s not yet out on Netflix or Amazon Prime or Google Play but here’s the IMDB link. It has a 7.6 rating. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4209788/