The real winner in “Molly’s Game”

“Molly’s Game” is based on the true story of Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain).  She runs a high-stakes poker game frequented by A-list celebrities and other recognizable faces, an endeavor which eventually leads to her arrest.

Unlike the memoir upon which the movie is based, the film refrains from naming some of the celebrities involved, choosing instead to keep the focus solely on Molly and her…ethics?  Her illegal activities didn’t begin until relatively late in the game’s run and writer/director Aaron Sorkin’s point here is that she refused to give up the names of the players to make a deal for herself.  Is that truly enough to declare Molly an example of integrity in light of her other actions?  Possibly, though it seems that the real winner in “Molly’s Game” is the actual Molly Bloom herself.

Though her arrest led to restitution and fines, rather than jail time, even her attempt at a memoir didn’t help her recoup a significant amount of money.  By refusing to give up the names from the game–the ones that were published came from another player–her advance was lower than it could have been.  When the book came out in 2014, it didn’t do particularly well (though of course now it’s in the midst of a resurgence).  Molly Bloom had nothing.  Of particular significance, too, is that the movie makes a point of Molly explaining she could have sold the rights to her life for a movie anytime, but that she wanted more control.  It’s meant as yet another example of Molly’s virtue.  Think about the timeline, though.  When the film came out in 2017, it was only three years after her book.  The amount of time she waited for that “right moment” wasn’t as significant as Sorkin would have us believe.

So, the real winner in this high stakes game is Molly Bloom.  With can-do-no-wrong Jessica Chastain portraying her on-screen, she’s suddenly a victim, a go-getter, a successful business owner–and, above all, an honorable scapegoat.

That said, aside from the film’s questionable morals lesson, it’s well-made and well-acted.  For more about “Molly’s Game”, take a look below:


–>Keep in touch with the author on Twitter and Instagram @realZoeHewitt.  Looking for the direct link to the video?  Click here.

HACKSAW RIDGE Movie Review & Analysis

HACKSAW RIDGE is based on the true story of World War II American Army medic Desmond Doss, a Seventh Day Adventist, who refuses to carry a gun due to his strong religious convictions.  Though he’s mocked mercilessly, his bravery during the Battle of Okinawa leads to his single-handedly saving the lives of 75 men, after which he is awarded the Medal of Honor.  Andrew Garfield, best known at this point for his work as Spider-Man, earned an Oscar nomination for his performance in addition to five other nominations for the film, including Best Picture and Best Director for Mel Gibson.

For more about the themes and symbolism in HACKSAW RIDGE, take a look below:

—>Looking for the direct link to the video?  Click here.

LOVING Movie Review & Analysis

LOVING is based on the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving, played here by Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga, whose interracial marriage was illegal in Virginia in 1958 even with a valid marriage license from Washington DC.  Their arrest and subsequent banishment from the state led to the American Civil Liberties Union, or the ACLU, taking their case all the way to the Supreme Court where a unanimous ruling declared Virginia’s law unconstitutional, along with similar ones in 23 other states.  The movie was written and directed by Jeff Nichols and also stars Michael Shannon and Nick Kroll.

I was looking forward to LOVING pretty much because I enjoy love stories and that’s what this boils down to in the end.  In the movie as well as in the true life story of Mildred Loving she said that although the ACLU took on the case, it wasn’t about civil rights as much as being able to return home and love who she wanted to without restriction.

Another true-to-life line is that Mildred says living in DC is like living in a cage.  Perhaps without even meaning to, Mildred realizes that living is DC is no different from being trapped in a jail cell–a cage–because neither one allowed her to make decision for herself.  The movie emphasizes the differences between Virginia and DC through the use of nature.  When the Lovings are in Virginia there are lots of quiet shots of fields, mountains and greenery as compared to DC where, when they arrive, there’s only a small plot of overgrown grass in front of their new home.  

The other thing the natural elements in LOVING served to do was show how Mildred and Richard’s life was full and vibrant.  One of the early scenes with the couple is when Richard shows Mildred an acre of land he has purchased where he wants to build a home for them.  Right behind him is a large field with crops, evidence of growth, life and vitality.  The movie even opens with Mildred telling Richard about her pregnancy, in and of itself a statement of life.

There’s a balance between sensationalizing a time period and simply depicting it and LOVING felt like it didn’t do either one accurately, much to its detriment.  Presumably, life wasn’t easy for Richard and Mildred as an interracial couple in a state where their relationship was against the law, yet no one other than the judge who sentences them really seems to care.  I think it’s entirely possible that Jeff Nichols, who wrote and directed the movie, was trying to strike a balance of tension without turning the movie into a sensationalistic experience.  By not showing any sexual scenes of Richard and Mildred’s relationship and no dramatic run-ins the movie became sterile and lacked the dramatic tension that must have been so much a part of the Lovings’ lives.  

For more about LOVING, including how the drag racing scenes parallel the action of the story, take a look below:

—>Looking for the direct link to the video?  Click here.

%d bloggers like this: