Spotlight Blog: Molly’s Game
In the fifth instalment of our Spotlight Blog series, we will be looking at a recent movie that took the world by storm upon its release, Molly’s Game. Released in 2017 and starring Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game tells the story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic level skier, who hosted high-stakes poker games for ten years before being caught by the FBI.
The movie was directed by Aaron Sorkin is based on the memoir written by Molly Bloom. The film also stars Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera and Chris O’Dowd. The film was filmed in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and was first premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 8 2017. It was released into theatres on January 5, 2018, and managed to cross $59 million worldwide. The film received mainly positive reviews with particular praise going to Sorkin’s direction and the performances of Chastain and Elba.
In this spotlight blog, we will give a brief outline of the plot and tell you how accurate the film was to the real Molly Bloom.
Molly's Game Plot
Molly Bloom was a world-class skier with aspirations of competing at the 2002 Winter Olympics, but in a qualifying event, Molly suffered a severe injury which ended her career.
Instead of going to law school, Molly decided to take a gap year and moved to Los Angeles. Upon arrival in LA, Molly took a job as a waitress in a club where she meets Dean Keith, who is an unsuccessful real estate developer. She becomes his office manager, and he starts involving her in his underground poker games. Many famous individuals are involved in these games, and Molly benefits from some hefty tips.
Molly quickly gets up to speed pretty quickly on how poker is played and how it works. Molly is starting to become more independent when it comes to running the games, and this angers Dean, who then fires Molly.
Thanks to the contacts gained through these games, Molly decides to set up her own game. She rents a penthouse at a hotel and hires some staff to aid her in setting up her poker games. As time goes on, more and more players join Molly’s game, even players from Dean’s game.
After a while, a player in Molly’s game called Player X decided to move the venue of the game which led to others following him.
Molly then decides to move to New York to set up a new underground Poker game. She reaches out to lots of wealthy New Yorkers, and she is able to set up a consistent run of games. This success though came at a cost. The Italian and Russian mafias try and convince Molly to extort money from players. The FBI come knocking though when one of Molly’s former players is indicted for running a Ponzi scheme. She is questioned, but it takes an informant within Molly’s poker games before her assets get seized by the FBI. Molly returns to live with her mother.
Two years later, Molly decided to write a book based on her games. This leads to her getting arrested for being involved in illegal gambling with the mafia. Molly hires Charlie Jaffey to help with her case. It is decided though that Molly committed no serious crime and was given 200 hours community service, one-year probation and a $200,000 fine.
How Accurate Is The Film To The Story
A majority of the movie is accurate to the memoir as the actual Molly Bloom was frequently asked by the director to see whether the film was showing the right things; however, there were a few changes in the movie which only people who know the story would know.
The club that Molly initially works at is called the Viper Room in the film; however, the actual club was called the Cobra lounge. It is unknown as to why this was changed in the movie, as the change of name would stop people knowing exactly where these things happened. The biggest detail that is changed in the film is the name of the owner of the club owner. The film calls him Dean Keith, but his actual real-life name is Darin Feinstein. All the actions of Feinstein does in the film are true to life though. Player X is also fabrication in the movie, but it is relatively easy to work out who it is meant to be.
The person, Player X, is based on is Tobey Maguire, who does get named in the memoir. Maguire is referenced as it is mentioned that Player X played a superhero, and because he is played by Michael Cera, it can easy to work out. Maguire though never took control of the game as he does in the movie.
Lawyer Jaffey is also a bit more fictitious. Jaffey is an amalgamation of the lawyers that Molly hired for her case. This was probably done to avoid the cast ist from ballooning.
Overall the changes were more minor than major and make sense when you take into context the issues with making a movie.