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.