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Molly’s Game

She seeks success in high-stakes poker

© STX Entertainment The true story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-class skier who ran the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game only to become an FBI target and get chased by the Russian mob.
     Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain: The Zookeeper’s Wife) has impressive credentials. An Olympic-caliber skier and academic whiz on her way to Harvard Law School, she impresses everyone but domineering father (Kevin Costner: Hidden Figures). When her Olympic dreams crash, Molly abandons her father’s plan and heads to LA. 
      Starting from personal assistant, she’s soon helping her boss run a nationally ranked private poker game. Molly works at her computer keeping track of the money and thinking of ways to improve the game. She rubs elbows with movie stars, singers and business moguls. 
     When an ornery client tries to cut Molly out, she takes the successful business model to the East Coast. A seat at her table costs $200,000. While raking in millions, she’s infiltrated by the Russian mob with the Feds following close behind.
     Facing decades in a federal prison, she convinces high-flying Charlie Jaffey (Idris Elba: Thor: Ragnarok) to take her case.
     This fast-paced but shallow dramatization of a true story is an entertaining flick about one woman and the leagues of idiot men trying to oppress her. Legendary screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (Steve Jobs) gives his directorial debut all his hallmarks. Dialogue is dense and lickety-split, pacing is nearly breakneck and the resolution comes too easily. 
     For all his skill, Sorkin misses his story’s best drama, glossing over Molly’s drug abuse and barely touching the mob’s very real threat. 
     Chastain, on the other hand, gives a lead performance that astounds. She is a whirligig of charm and sass as she navigates what is traditionally a man’s world. 
     As her exasperated attorney, Elba is all charm and long-suffering sighs. He and Chastain play well off each other, but they rarely get into anything meaty. 
Molly’s Game is a great popcorn flick to bring in the new year. 
Fair Dramedy • R • 140 mins.
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