Molly’s Game – Integrity is for Anyone

Molly’s Game – Integrity is for Anyone
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Molly’s Game – Integrity is for Anyone

Endless entertainment is derived from watching people do things we wish we could do. In sports, it’s the physical things. In celebrity, it’s the aesthetic things. In art, it’s the creative things. And in business, it’s the bold things.

To the relief of viewers, an element of this wishing is guilt-free; one may long to jump like Lebron James, but it’s easy to console oneself with the correct logic that ‘Bron ‘Bron was bestowed with special gifts at birth that almost nobody else possesses.

 Molly’s Game offers the audience someone, Molly Bloom, to admire. But unlike Lebron, this admiration is not for some inherited ability (plus hard work). It’s for something anyone, anywhere can have: integrity.

There is no easy explanation for not being like Molly Bloom because one can simply decide to be like Molly. Like today. Like right now. Like from now on your word could be an unbreakable contract. Like never committing to a party and then, Oh I’m so so so sorry, something just came up and I can’t make it. Have fun without me though. I’ll be thinking about you guys and wishing I was there!!! Like it doesn’t matter how trivial that party is, how many other people have backed out to render what was once a happening social event to a party you wouldn’t even want to post about on Instagram, a party you’d, quite frankly, lie about attending if asked, if a commitment was made, one’s attendance is guaranteed. One hundred percent.

The weird thing about Molly’s Game is that Molly never came across as some strong champion for integrity. She was interesting, sure. She was driven, sure. She was creative in building a lucrative poker enterprise, sure. But when she kept refusing to turn over evidence that would have reduced her potential punishment, her motives were a complete mystery. It seemed as likely as anything that the evidence would have directly made her look bad in some way to be revealed later in the film.

So instead of an emotional climax when Molly finally explains that she cares about her “name,” it was a curiosity why someone who hadn’t proven to be notably motivated by virtue was behaving in this way.

But apparently, that’s who Molly is, even if Molly’s Game failed to show this remarkable character trait until the very end.

“Molly’s Game” did not make me THINK.

Here we have an incredibly athletic woman, Molly Bloom, taking out her frustrations by skating as fast as she can. The problem is that Jessica Chastain, or more likely the stunt double playing her, looked like a totally incompetent skater. There was nothing fast or daring or remotely athletic about her ice skating.

Then throw in her father’s magical appearance, and by magical I mean it seemed totally fake, and you have the recipe for a disastrous scene.

“Molly’s Game” did not make me LAUGH.

One would have been fine. Molly’s Game graciously provided us three.

Three moving speeches beginning with her lawyer, Charlie Jaffey (Idris Elba), continuing with her father, Larry Bloom (Kevin Costner), and ending with a combo of Jaffey and Molly.

The Larry Bloom one offered the best cry. Of the many powerful observations he made about his daughter, admitting that he was hard on her because she knew of his infidelity was, well, damn. I just can’t think of a worse thing a father could do to his family than that.

Which brings me back to the most real take I’ve ever heard on infidelity. From Horace and Pete, the speaker is talking about cheating on his ex-wife to his ex-wife:

“It was the worst, worst, worst, worst feeling in the whole wide fucking world. I would lie awake next to you just thinkin’, ‘What if she finds out?’ I couldn’t have been doing a worse thing. It was the worst thing I could ever do. And I kept doing it. And every day I would think, ‘I don’t want to be alive. I just want it all to end.’ Not just me, I wanted us all to die. I wanted everyone involved to just stop existing. It was the only clean way out. I remember in 9/11 when the planes that hit the buildings and on the news they said that Washington was on fire and everyone thought there were more planes coming. I thought, ‘Maybe this is it. Maybe the planes will take us out and this will all be over.’ I preferred that to what I knew would happen and did – that everybody would find out what I was doing. I would picture you finding out. Like I would close my eyes and I would picture your face and I’d see all this hate in your eyes that I knew I could never come back from. And I kept on fucking her.”

“Molly’s Game” made me CRY.

 

Adam Schaefer

Adam Schaefer

Adam likes banana flavoring more than bananas. His first R-rated movie was "Beverly Hills Cop 3." He is also a semi-famous somniloquist.
Adam Schaefer

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