Taglines: Deal with her.
Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain), a beautiful young Olympic-class skier, ran the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game for a decade before being arrested in the middle of the night by 17 FBI agents wielding automatic weapons. Her players included Hollywood royalty, sports stars, business titans, and finally, unbeknownst to her, the Russian mob. Her only ally was her criminal defense lawyer Charlie Jaffey, who learned that there was much more to Molly than the tabloids led us to believe.
Molly’s Game is a 2017 American crime drama film written and directed by Aaron Sorkin (in his directorial debut), based on the memoir Molly’s Game: From Hollywood’s Elite to Wall Street’s Billionaire Boys Club, My High-Stakes Adventure in the World of Underground Poker by Molly Bloom. It stars Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, Brian d’Arcy James, Chris O’Dowd, Bill Camp, Graham Greene, Claire Rankin, Joe Keery, and Jeremy Strong. The film follows Bloom (Chastain), who becomes the target of an FBI investigation of the underground poker empire she runs for Hollywood celebrities, athletes, business tycoons, and the Russian mob.
Principal photography began in November 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The film premiered on September 8, 2017 at the Toronto International Film Festival, and began a limited theatrical release in the United States on December 25, 2017, by STXfilms, before expanding wide on January 5, 2018. Molly’s Game received positive reviews, with praise for Sorkin’s script and the performances of Elba and Chastain, the latter of which was called a career-best by some critics. At the 75th Golden Globe Awards, it received two nominations, Best Screenplay and Best Actress – Drama for Chastain Sorkin also earned nominations for his script at the Academy Awards, Writers Guild of America and BAFTA Awards.
As of January 25, 2018, Molly’s Game has grossed $25 million in the United States and Canada, and $16.9 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $41.9 million. On Christmas Day, the film debuted with $1.04 million from 271 theaters. In its first full weekend, the film grossed $2.3 million, finishing 13th at the box office. The film expanded wide on January 5, 2018, alongside the opening of Insidious: The Last Key, and was projected to gross around $6 million from 1,608 theaters in its opening weekend. It ended up debuting to $6.9 million, finishing 7th at the box office. The following weekend it dropped 44% to $3.9 million, finishing 11th. In its third week of wide release the film grossed $1.7 million, finishing 19th.
About the Story
Molly Bloom is world-class moguls skier with Olympic aspirations, the result of years of enforced training from her overbearing father. In a qualifying event for the 2002 Winter Olympics, Molly is severely injured; ending her career.
Instead of her original plan of attending law school, Molly decides to take a year off and move to Los Angeles. Once she arrives, she becomes a bottle-service waitress at a club, where she meets Dean, an ostentatious but unsuccessful real estate developer. She becomes his office manager, and he soon involves her in running his underground poker games. Many famous and wealthy individuals, such as movie stars, investment bankers, and sports players are involved in Dean’s game; she earns large sums of money on tips alone.
Molly is initially uninformed on poker topics, but quickly learns how to appeal to the players to gain tips. In particular, she hopes to please the most successful player, Player X, by attracting new players to the game. Dean, upon seeing that Molly is becoming increasingly independent in running the games, attempts to control her, and then fires her. Molly, having gained the contacts through years of running the game, decides to create her own poker games. She rents a penthouse at a hotel, and hires a staff to help her run games.
Additionally, she contacts employees at clubs and casinos to try and spread word about her poker games. Player X, along with many other players, decide to leave Dean’s games to play for Molly. Molly becomes increasingly successful, gaining more money while being pressured to raise the stakes for her games. Harlan Eustice, a conservative gambler who becomes increasingly compulsive, joins her game. Despite heavy losses, Eustice continues to play; Molly finds out that Player X has been funding his losses to keep him in the game. After Molly berates him for his unethical actions, Player X decides to change to Dean’s game, where the other players join him; Molly is left without any players for her poker games.
Molly moves to New York, with the hope of beginning a new underground poker game. After reaching out to many wealthy New Yorkers, Molly finds enough players for several weekly games. Despite continuous success, she is unable to cover her losses when players cannot pay. Her dealer convinces her to begin taking a percentage of large pots, allowing her to recuperate her potential losses.
One of her Los Angeles players is indicted for running a Ponzi scheme; Molly is investigated and questioned as to who attended her games. At this time, Molly becomes increasingly addicted to drugs as the games have increasingly taken their toll. Her players also begin to include wealthy individuals from the Russian mafia, among others. She is approached by several Italian mafia members, who offer their services to extort money from non-paying players. After she declines, she is attacked in her home, where she is held at gunpoint and her mother’s life is threatened.
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Molly’s Game (2017)
Directed by: Aaron Sorkin
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, Jeremy Strong, Chris O’Dowd, Bill Camp, Graham Greene, Angela Gots, Natalie Krill, Stephanie Herfield, Madison McKinley
Screenplay by: Aaron Sorkin
Production Design by: David Wasco
Cinematography by: Charlotte Bruus Christensen
Film Editing by: Alan Baumgarten, Elliot Graham, Josh Schaeffer
Costume Design by: Susan Lyall
Set Decoration by: Patricia Larman
Art Direction by: Brandt Gordon
Music by: Daniel Pemberton
MPAA Rating: R for language, drug content and some violence.
Distributed by: STX Entertainment
Release Date: December 25, 2017