Two days ago I re-posted my 9.3.17 review of Guillermo del Toro‘s The Shape of Water. I hadn’t mentioned the Oscar-tipped Fox Searchlight release since it opened on 12.8, and it was time to hear some reactions.
Same deal now with Aaron Sorkin‘s Molly’s Game, which opened on 12.25.17 or 11 days ago. I posted a slapshot Toronto Film Festival “review” on 9.8.17, or three and half months before anyone had seen it. So here it is again. Those who’ve seen this motormouthed legal drama are invited to weigh in.
Tweeted on 9.8.17 at 9:30 pm: “Aaron Sorkin’s Molly’s Game is an edgy, brutally complex, hard-driving motormouth thing with some excellent scenes, but the only people I cared about were Idris Elba‘s attorney (i.e., defending Jessica Chastain‘s Molly Bloom on illegal gambling charges), Elba’s pretty daughter and Kevin Costner’s dad character during a third-act park-bench scene with Chastain.
“I didn’t care about anyone else, and I basically found the whole thing, despite the very brainy writing, extremely fleet editing, the scrupulous attention paid to character shading plus that little sapling sticking out of the snow (a metaphor for unfair or random fate)…I found this whipsmart film demanding, not very nourishing and finally exhausting and soul-draining.”
Morning after #1: Remember that high-velocity, rat-a-tat breakup scene beteeen Jesse Eisenberg and Rooney Mara in The Social Network, which Sorkin also wrote? Molly’s Game is like that all the way through. You can feel yourself start to wilt.
Morning after #2: Chastain is so arch, clipped and super-brittle (this is more or less Miss Sloane 2), you just give up after a while. Elba has a great rhetorical sum-up scene with prosecutors near the end, but is otherwise trapped in a game of verbal ping-pong. And the various high-rollers who populate the gambling scenes (movie stars, heirs, hedge-fund guys, Russian mobsters) inspire one emotion — loathing. I hate guys like this, and I have to spend two hours with a whole string of them?