(2017) (Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba) (R)
- QUICK TAKE:
- Drama: A woman must contend with her high-stakes, underground poker operation becoming too successful and drawing the attention of people above and beyond her rich clientele.
- Having been trained and pushed by her therapist and psychology professor father, Larry (KEVIN COSTNER), Molly Bloom (JESSICA CHASTAIN) is a young woman who once was a top Olympic skier hopeful, only to have an injury sideline that quest. But her most recent attempt to excel at something -- in this case, running a high-stakes, underground poker operation where she was making millions of dollars per year in tips -- has gotten her in hot water with the feds. Not only have they seized her money, but she's always facing some serious prison time if convicted of breaking the law. And thus without any money but having recently published a book about her unique vocation, she manages to convince defense lawyer Charlie Jaffey (IDRIS ELBA) to defend her in court.
We then flashback to seeing her as a twenty-something woman living in Los Angeles and working for a not particularly nice boss, Dean Keith (JEREMY STRONG), who moonlights as an underground poker facilitator when not working his investment banker job. He wants Molly to take over the day-to-day operation of that and she ends up quite good at it, bringing in other wealthy players to compete against a famous Hollywood actor who she refers to as Player X (MICHAEL CERA). Among them are hedge fund manager Brad (BRIAN D'ARCY JAMES), seasoned gambler Harlan Eustice (BILL CAMP) who doesn't know when to quit, and Douglas Downey (CHRIS O'DOWD), a gambler who takes a drunken liking to Molly.
When she gets big enough and tires of Dean mistreating her, Molly breaks away and runs her own game, taking the gamblers with her, hiring professional card dealer B (ANGELA GOTS) to handle each game, and makes sure not to take a cut of the pot lest she break the law in doing so. But by being the "house" and extending credit to the players, she takes on ever greater risks, all of which leads to a growing dependency on drugs to keep going, angering some of the players, and drawing the unwelcome attention of others ranging from the mob to the feds.
- WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
- Some older teens might be interested, especially if they're into poker and/or are fans of anyone in the cast or writer/director Aaron Sorkin.
- WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
- For language, drug content and some violence.
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