TIFF 2017: Reactions Mixed but Positive With ‘Molly’s Game’ Debut

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Aaron Sorkin‘s directorial debut “Molly’s Game” opened to the delight of many critics and fans at TIFF 2017 on Friday night.

Jessica Chastain stars as Molly Bloom, a one-time Olympic hopeful who went on to run an ultra-exclusive high stakes poker game. The film is based on Bloom’s memoir. In addition to directing, Sorkin also adapted the screenplay.

The film was part of Toronto’s Special Presentations, and comes from STX Entertainment. Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Chris O’Dowd, and Michael Cera also star.

Following the screening, critics and festival attendees flocked to the internet to share their thoughts on the film, Chastain, and new director Sorkin.

Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter wrote:

In his overdue directorial debut, Sorkin both entertains and makes you lean in to absorb every detail of this wild tale, which boasts a stellar cast to help tell it.

The praise was high, but not absolute. Some noted Sorkin’s problematic history with female characters, and his reliance on dated tropes.

Benjamin Lee of The Guardian said:

As a director, Sorkin is competent but uneven. He attempts a few gimmicky flourishes (a video game-esque display of the cards being held in a poker game and some other pointless on-screen graphics), but otherwise it’s a plainly told tale matched with a hopelessly dated rock score. The visuals do little to distract us from the indigestible amount of information being thrown our way and the absurd two-hour-plus length focused entirely on a character who Sorkin sees as a crusading hero but fails to come across as anything more than a resourceful entrepreneur. Even when she adopts a serious drug addiction, it’s told in a sprightly grit-free manner, Sorkin missing the chance to delve that much deeper.

The general consensus of official “Molly’s Game” reviews seem to be that it may be problematic, but is sure to please audiences as something entertaining, if a bit hollow. The tweets were brimming with praise:

Check out the newest Oscar Predictions and see where “MOLLY’S GAME” ranks!

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MOTION PICTURE | DIRECTOR |
LEAD ACTOR | LEAD ACTRESS | SUPPORTING ACTOR | SUPPORTING ACTRESS | 
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY | ADAPTED SCREENPLAY | ANIMATED FEATURE |
PRODUCTION DESIGN | CINEMATOGRAPHY | COSTUME DESIGN | FILM EDITING | MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING | SOUND MIXING | SOUND EDITING | VISUAL EFFECTS |
ORIGINAL SCORE | ORIGINAL SONG |

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