Acclaimed writer Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing, A Few Good Men, The Social Network) makes his directorial debut with Molly’s Game, a film based on the real-life story of Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain), a woman who ran extremely high-stakes poker games in Los Angeles and New York.
Bloom was a former skier working as an assistant for a Hollywood big shot (Jeremy Strong). He asked her to help organize a weekly poker game with some of his millionaire friends. Eventually, she broke off and formed her own game with the help of a sleazy movie star (Michael Cera). The games got bigger and bigger, eventually attracting the attention of the mafia and the FBI.
As usual, Sorkin’s strength is his dialogue. It’s fast, snappy, and funny. Chastain anchors it all with a strong lead performance as Bloom, and she is ably supported by Idris Elba as her attorney and Cera, cast against type as the sketchy actor. But the movie feels a little padded at 2 hours and 20 minutes, and a late scene between Chastain and her strict father (Kevin Costner) feels forced.
Minor quibbles aside, Molly’s Game is a promising directorial debut for Sorkin and fans of his work should enjoy it.