Molly’s Game Screen 7 articles

Molly’s Game


Molly’s Game Poster
  • There's a blank space at the core of Molly's Game that the protagonist cannot fill, unable as she is to represent anything beyond her esoteric narrative of unorthodox self-actualization. Sorkin wants Molly to be the flipside of the more pertinent greed of Wall Street and other institutions, failing to realize that both philosophies are still on the same coin.

  • Personally, I would take a thousand stylized, self-rationalizing on-screen Tonyas [from I, Tonya] over the Molly of the second half of Molly's Game, who gets increasingly, infuriatingly defined by the men in her life, among them her demanding dad (Kevin Costner). It's a consistently maddening Sorkin tendency that, in the first half of his first turn as a director as well as a writer, it looked like he'd kicked.

  • To give credit where it’s due, Molly’s Game finds intelligent and funny ways of presenting the most absurd facts of its heroine’s life... Sorkin can’t help but completely make things about himself, however, and his relentless attempt to be cool and self-aware quickly becomes tiring.

  • Empowerment is one way to look at this story, though only if you sentimentalize its main character. It is hard not to wonder how this movie might have turned out if Mr. Sorkin had decided his protagonist was as much a weasel as the one he wrote for “The Social Network,” another story of an American striver. It’s hard not to wonder, too, how this story might play if its protagonist wasn’t a woman who, as this movie sees it, needed so much male defending.

  • The first film directed by Aaron Sorkin, who also wrote the script, is dominated by the imaginary clatter of his computer keyboard; the quality of the screenplay takes a back seat to its quantity, and the direction never brings it to life. . . . Molly’s voice-over, which runs throughout the film, explains the logic behind her practical decisions while also detailing the skills and the wiles of poker players, yet Sorkin narrows her analytical intelligence to superficial flash.

  • As a director, the only really bad decision Sorkin makes is a bit of sentimental score layered over the moment straight-arrow lawyer Elba agrees to take misunderstand Chastain on as a client — otherwise, he chooses (or signs off on) unspectacular but totally OK compositions, leaning on a team of three (!) editors to bring it home. This is A-OK crowdpleasing fare: for uncomplicated entertainment, I doubt I’ll do better while here.

  • This makes for a rather dry narrative, and one in which—true to the patented Sorkin TV style—torrents of expositional dialogue and supplementary argumentation are of the essence. But Sorkin, as writer and director, has a good story to tell, and one that’s given a further dimension by the fact that it isn’t a straight adaptation of Bloom’s memoir.

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