Molly’s Game review: A ripping yarn, but unrealistic and distracting in some scenes

It’s been well-received elsewhere, so it’s entirely possible that this my own fault.

However, Steve Jobs, The Social Network, Moneyball and 155 episodes of The West Wing have made me very familiar with the particular way Sorkin writes dialogue.

Molly’s Game, his first film as both writer and director, is the true story of a former Olympic skier who was hounded by the FBI and targeted by the Mafia for running an illegal poker game for millionaires and movie stars.

It’s a ripping yarn and Molly (a very mannered Jessica Chastain) is an intriguing character but I never managed to suspend my disbelief.

As Sorkin’s loquacious heroine engaged in rapid-fire exchanges with her whip-smart lawyer (Idris Elba), I could almost hear the clickety clack of the writer’s keyboard.

It was very distracting. In real life nobody talks like this, not even the tech barons, the politicians and the other high-flyers that so interest Mr Sorkin. I would love to see a scene where one of his characters exits a room and thinks of something witty they wished they had said.

As well as allowing a touch of reality to his highly-polished drama, this might give his characters a much-needed dash of humanity.

But I really couldn’t give a hoot about Molly Bloom. 

In his flashy opening sequence, Sorkin flirts with self-parody as cocky Molly takes us through her impressive CV (including her actual exam results) as she prepares to launch herself down the piste. I wanted her to fall flat on her face.

And those dark feelings kept returning as she made her slow descent down another slippery slope.

Nobody constructs dialogue like Sorkin.

But surely the first rule of good screenwriting is to give your audience a reason to care?