TIFF 2017 – “Molly’s Game” Reviews Round-Up

The first reviews for Molly’s Game are getting released after the world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. We have made a round-up of the first reviews and social media reactions in this post. The reception thus far is very positive, and especially Jessica’s performance get praised, with various outlets – including Vulture – analyzing if the movie and Jessica could be contenders for award season. We will add more reviews as they are getting released, so be sure to check back.

Molly’s Game is the Jessica Chastain movie I’ve been waiting for since Zero Dark Thirty. Chastain is one of the best actors working today, but she seems to be in quite a few movies in which other aspects of the film betray her. (Miss Sloane is an example of this.) But here we get Chastain in all her glory and she is a force, spitting out finely tuned Sorkin dialogue, sometimes at light speed. Even when Molly Bloom isn’t in control, Chastain always is. Chastain owns this movie. (Uproxx)

Still, for a writer accused of misogyny in the past, “Molly’s Game” delivers one of the screen’s great female parts — a dense, dynamic, compulsively entertaining affair, whose central role makes stunning use of Chastain’s stratospheric talent. Chastain’s not the type, but she’s a star with an instinct for great material, and as such, the character adapts to fit her persona, rather than the other way around (the real Bloom comes across more like the call girl who brought down Eliot Spitzer). “Molly’s Game” is Chastain’s movie, and she’s demonstrating once again what we’ve seen in everything from “Zero Dark Thirty” to “A Most Violent Year”: No matter how powerful the men around her, Chastain is perfectly capable of being in control — and that’s not to be taken lightly in an industry that provides an alarming deficit of stand-their-ground female role models (even those who are technically breaking the law).

Sorkin approaches Molly as an earnest and upstanding citizen — practically a crusader of sorts, and Chastain plays her with practically the same conviction she did a power-lobbyist in last year’s “Miss Sloane” — who went out of her way to ask a lawyer (Michael Kostroff) whether her unconventional business was legal.

The point is, Molly’s a great character, and in the Chastain-Sorkin partnership, she’s performed every bit as forcefully as she’s written. “Molly’s Game” delivers that rare example of a female character who gets the better of some of the country’s richest and most powerful men — and in the film’s most cathartic scene (which immediately follows an entirely unnecessary one, set at the ice-skating rink in New York’s Central Park), she finally gets to confront the ne plus ultra of alpha males, her Svengali-like father, about issues Sorkin has stealthily woven throughout his script.

Sorkin shows his cards, making the movie about something we really care about: human reconciliation, not getting rich, or defending one’s honor. After that, the judge’s verdict hardly matters. Chastain and Sorkin have already won over the audience. (Variety)

Fortunately, the words have been written by the ever-eloquent Aaron Sorkin and are spoken with skill and speed by Jessica Chastain as a way of telling, in as much detail as a mainstream film could allow, the dense and complicated story of Hollywood and Wall Street high stakes poker den mother Molly Bloom. With Miss Sloane last year and Zero Dark Thirty before that, Chastain is definitely in a moment of playing very hard-edged women without personal lives (Miss Sloane at least had a secret gigolo), and the lack of either this or any female friends (there are only employees) makes one wonder if Molly has truly cut sex, romance and even friends out of her life; there’s no mention or glimpse of any of the above, which makes her feel like an incomplete character. All the same, Chastain roars through the performance with a force and take-no-prisoners attitude that keeps one rapt. (THR)

It seems certain to be a significant awards season player, with Jessica Chastain in particular a near certainty for a clutch of nominations. It’s a role which is familiar territory for Chastain: like the ruthless lobbyist in Miss Sloane, Molly Bloom is a woman used to running intellectual rings around the smartest guys in the room. Her addiction, according to her analyst father (Kevin Costner), is having power over powerful men. he scenes that Chastain and Elba share are enormously enjoyable. There’s a crackling, almost screwball quality to their rapid-fire banter. You rather wish they had more screen time together. But there’s a lot of backstory to explore and many fools to be parted from their money. (Screen Daily)

The entire film rests upon the charisma and believability of Molly, and it’s here that Jessica Chastain shines in ways that are likely to get her serious consideration come awards time. Chastain’s takes have been often hit or miss themselves, but here she’s got not only a powerful, intelligent character to truly delve into and showcase her acting chops, she also has Sorkin’s actorly turns of phrases to elevate things even further. It’s a perfect match and a perfect casting decision, and absolutely the thing the film gets most right. In the end, all is focused on Chastain and her ability to connect with the audience, and here she succeeds in ways better than almost any role in her career. It’s a fascinating story fairly well told with a committed take by its lead, and for that alone Molly’s Game seems to have the winning hand. (Birth Movies Death)

Chastain tears into the material with the ferociousness of a starving wolf. She’s funny and focused while allowing herself some soft-spoken introspection. (She admits to her father that she was a brat to her dad.) The actress has shown incredible versatility since bursting onto the scene in 2011’s The Help. She gave a preview of this performance playing a dogged agent in Zero Dark Thirty and hard-charging lobbyist in last year’s little-seen Miss Sloane. She puts it all together in Molly’s Game. It will go down as her signature role. The Oscar nod is in the bag.. (Mara Movies)

Social Media

Twitter created a moment which included the “rave reviews” of the movie, be sure to check it out over here.

Lindsey