Gonna put this review here though it could really go in any of the film threads. The film itself was a hodge podge of the good and bad so I guess ultimately it belongs in here in as much as I can't wholly recommend or slate it.
Molly's Game - another true crime drama type thing based on a woman called Molly Bloom who ran a load of super high stakes poker games for famous people, hedge fund managers and (what turned out to be) Russian gangsters. As a film it was ok I guess, it tells the "true" story of an Olympic level skier named after a character from Ulysses (at least they didn't call her Agamemnon I guess) who suffered a career ending injury and was seemingly going to have to settle for her back-up plan of a place at law school until her year out gave her an opportunity which caused her to change direction completely.
Basically she ended up as a personal assistant to a singularly unpleasant guy played by the son in Succession as almost exactly the same fragile spoiled brat millionaire - as well as being his slave on a daily basis she helped out at high stakes poker games that he organised and when he fired her she simply messaged everyone involved and told them that the next game was gonna be at a spot that she had hired. The list of numbers is effectively the game and so she was able to cut the originator out and carry on with her as the main man... until one of the players - a Hollywood star that she referred to as Mister X (played by Michael Cera) - did the same thing to her and left her high and dry. So she moved to NY and started again until she was busted once it turned out that a number of the players were gangsters and so, according to the story at least, the entirely innocent Bloom's money was unfairly seized by the FBI in a ruthless attempt to leverage her into becoming an informant and helping them nail the bad guys.
And this is where one of the main issues I have with the film comes in - it's all her words and her side of the argument. If we believe her then she was super smart and played with a straight bat all the way through, never even taking a percentage of the bets (until at the end when she kinda had to) and thus making her games entirely legal - her only income was the tips they gave her. Molly was scrupulously fair to everyone, she didn't employ any muscle to collect outstanding debts and it never crossed her mind that there might be anything slightly dodgy about a Russian guy who turned up carrying a Picasso as security and with two guys with machine guns to keep it safe. She never shagged any of her super glamorous clients who were all desperate to get in her knickers, none of her super-hot staff slept with any of the clients. Every time something went her way - eg she successfully stole the game and made hers more popular - it was morally justified and entirely down to people liking her and her fairness, but every time something went against her - eg Mr X stole the game off her and made his more popular - it was completely unfair and vindictive and basically she was being punished for being too honest and beautiful.
I'm very suspicious of that. I'm not even saying that she was particularly a bad guy, certainly no worse than any others, I just find it hard to believe that she could survive in this world of billionaires and criminals and so on simply by being fair and smart. Did she really not ever pay anyone to guard the hundreds of thousands of pounds that were brought to her suites while the games were on and so on?
The other issue, as with all biopics that I've seen, is that real lives don't really provide an actual narrative arc, they have an inconvenient way of just being some stuff that happens, with the occasional interesting bit along the way. That's exactly what happens here - after the glamour and excitement of hanging around with Toby X (er I mean Mister Maguire um whatever), FBI raids, the mafia breaking into her flat and sticking a gun in her mouth it kinda... just.... fizzles. Near the end there is an utterly excruciating scene with her father (Kevin Costner) that was so tedious I almost turned the film off. In fact both of us said that the scene was so bad that we weren't sure if we could get through it to watch the last two minutes and find out what happened in the end even though we'd invested two hours or so to get to this point.
Also, and this is somehow the main thing for me, American films of this kind about criminals who think they are smart (normally con men or card players or financial wizards of one sort or another) seem to always have this particular kind of voiceover delivered in a specific style that I find incredibly unpleasant. I think that the idea is that if you have someone talking really fast and with a lot of confidence about their chosen field and about winners and winning and their ice cold brains and will to win, you are supposed to admire their intelligence and also their will to win. But I hate it, I hate to hear people saying all this stuff like "If you're not the smartest guy then you're the mark" or "Losers keep on thinking they will get the money back next time and that's why they keep giving it to me" or "If you can't read exactly what everyone is thinking while doing ten digit probabilistic calculations in your head and lying with a smile you will end up in a bar telling anyone who will listen about how you could have made it - while I'm sitting on a pile of money in the bahamas as Kate Moss and Megan Fox compete to slobber the most coke off my dick".
And Molly's Game falls totally into the trap of having that cliche all over it and turned up to ten. There is an interesting-ish story in there and bits of it are well told. But it's not THAT interesting and by repeatedly insisting that it is the most important and glam thing that has ever happened it ultimately falls flat.