Some people learn the hard way.
I know I do…but is there really any other way? How do you really know the depths of your integrity or the dimensions of your heart unless you bump up against life in a way that tests it?
Although her story is extreme, the experiences of Molly Bloom (the so-called “Poker Princess”) really started me thinking about lessons and motivations in my own life. Well…that’s when you know you’ve seen a great movie, when it reaches in and gets you pondering like that.
Insanely well-written (by the great Aaron Sorkin) and barreling along at high speed, we follow the trajectory of a woman who was seemingly raised to train hard, push herself, achieve excellence, and go for the gold. Literally. And she ends up applying those skills in the dice-y arena of high stakes (VERY high stakes) poker.
Ah…but there’s more to the story.
Not just the “HOW?” but the “WHY?” is fully explored here, and I was reminded that there is a lot more going on in life than just the surface events. Not everyone has a taste for these deeper motivations, but ya know what? They are there, and they are RUNNING THINGS, whether you choose to examine them or not.
Every level of gambling is explored here: financial, emotional, physical, spiritual, and of course, addiction. You may start out risking just money, but at what point does it turn and you are wagering your very soul? I’m not kidding. It both captivated and scared the bejesus out of me. (Some of the poker game scenes got me so nervous I wished I had one of those fidget spinner things to take the edge off.)
As the character of Molly, Jessica Chastain is on her best game (pun intended). Whip-smart and intense and mesmerizing to watch, she is believable both as a sharp, opportunistic young woman who goes too far down the rabbit hole, and also one who painfully learns who her friends are, what she stands for, and where she draws the line. She gets my vote for a Best Actress Oscar. Especially this year, when women all over the country have been wrestling with much the same thing. #metoo
Ultimately Molly must answer this question: I may be able to gamble with and destroy my own life, but can I do that to others? Under enormous pressure, she has to dig deep for the answer, and no bluffing this time.
When you leave the theater ask yourself, honestly, what would YOU do?
Love the review… Compelled to see the movie now…
Yeah you should…it’s worth it.
Welcome back Deed 🙂
Thanks Lizzy 🙂
Great job Leslie. I love your play on words. Your recap really makes me want to see the movie.
Not just examining the film but also relating to yourself, fantastic. I feel I have to go see it now, should I?
Yes, I think you should. I kinda know your taste in movies, and I think you would appreciate the complexity of this one. You certainly will not be bored! When you see it write back and tell me your thoughts!
Gotta admit, I had no interest in this movie, but your review has made me want to go! Nice.
Excellent! Obviously it made an impression on me….the writing, the acting, all top notch. Worth it! And hey, if you do see it write back and give me YOUR impressions!
Hi Leslie…fabulous movie review! Your writing style is intriguing, fun, and cutting edge. The blog was thought-provoking, and so now I must go see the movie! Karen Marts & Freedom the Parrot
Thank you Karen, if you do see it be sure and write back with your impressions!
I know I am late to this party and just saw the post 😉 Excellent piece Deed. Just last week, I heard an excellent interview with the real Molly. Give it a listen:
Wow Brad, great interview with her, thanks for sharing that! Have you seen the movie?? It is just like she describes, but I was surprised to hear her name Tobey Maguire openly…what I read suggested that character was a “composite” of several celebs including Ben Affleck and Leonardo DiCaprio. But I guess Spiderman has a truly dark side!
I was also struck by how well the actress Jessica Chastain captured her, just from listening to her talk about her story.
And I was very gratified to hear her talking about how everyone f**ks up their life, or has it f**ked up at some point I should say. Perhaps that’s why this story resonated with me so, I mean I don’t know anything about poker. In any case I look forward to what she has to say on “Unf**king Your Life” in the future!
This interview makes me want to watch the movie again!!