Molly's Game

Aaron Sorkin, the veteran TV producer (The West Wing) and screenwriter (Moneyball, The Social Network), makes his feature directing debut with this engaging adaptation of Molly Bloom’s memoir about her career running high-stakes underground poker games in New York and Hollywood. A TV writer at heart, Sorkin is a master of the chatterbox soliloquy, and the movie opens with an aggressively expository voice-over from Bloom (Jessica Chastain) recounting her formative years as an Olympic skier. Yet Sorkin’s hectoring narration and overly pointed dialogue are gradually neutralized by his generous 140-minute running time; this is that rare instance of a filmmaker benefiting from his own self-indulgence. The strong cast includes Idris Elba (as Bloom’s attorney), Kevin Costner (as her demanding father), and Michael Cera (as the heartless Player X, a stand-in for the movie stars who frequented Bloom’s west-coast games).