Molly's Game

[3.5 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

Netflix thought I'd like this. They weren't wrong; I stayed awake the entire time.

It's the story of Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain). She's not of Irish descent, as she makes clear when someone assumes she is. But she comes from a high-pressure family; her dad, especially, pushes her to become a world-class skiier, like her brother. That ambition is almost derailed when she undergoes surgery for serious scoliosis. But (through implied grit, pluck, and pressure) she nearly attains Olympic stature… until a freak accident derails her again! Darn!

So she decides to do something else. By sheer luck (whether that luck is good or bad is up in the air) she gets into the world of high-stakes barely-legal poker parties. Understandably, she wants to avoid illegality and complication. Just as understandably: she gets it anyway. No spoilers: an early scene in the movie shows her being arrested by the Feds, he assets seized via forfeiture. She appeals to a fancy lawyer (Idris Elba) for help, and gets it. Will she stay out of the clink?

Written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, which is an announcement of "clever dialog upcoming".

Except—and this sounds like something other people may have noticed too—it's not exactly clever dialog. It's dialog the audience listens to and thinks I'm clever for understanding this. Not quite the same thing.

It's fine, good acting, marred by a truly stupid conclusion. Don't want to spoil it, but it involves a deus ex machina speech by a judge…