Molly's Game is a 2017 film that tells the true story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-class skier who ran the world's most exclusive high-stakes poker game and became an FBI target.
Directed and written by Aaron Sorkin, based on the memoir by Molly Bloom.
== Molly Bloom ==
[voice-over] A survey was taken a few years ago that asked 300 professionals one question, "What's the worst thing that can happen in sports?" Some people answered losing a game 7, and other people said getting swept in the 4. Some people said it was missing the world cup, and some Brazilians said it was losing to Argentina. Not just in the world cup. Anytime, ever in any contest. But one person answered that the worst thing that can happen in sports is 4th place at the Olympics.
[voice-over] Now two things you need to know before the second trick. which’ll be a 720. The first is that when visibility is bad the way it is now, race officials jam pine boughs in the snow at the edge of the jump so the skiers have some foreground depth reference. The second is that the tightness of your bindings is determined by what’s called a DIN setting. If you’re a beginner your DIN setting is probably 2 or 3. If you’re an experienced weekend skier it’s probably 7 or 8. Mine’s 15. My boots are basically welded to my skis. Right...so how does this happen? [her ski comes off in the air] It happened because I hit a pine bough and I hit it so precisely that it simply snapped the release on my bindings. Right in that moment I didn’t have time to calculate the odds of that happening because I was about to land pretty hard on my digitally remastered spinal cord which is being held together by spare parts from an Erector Set. None of this has anything to do with poker. I’m only mentioning it because I wanted to say to whoever answered that the worst thing that could happen in sports was 4th place at the Olympics - seriously, fuck you.
[voice-over] Poker was my Trojan horse into the highest levels of finance, technology, politics, art, entertainment - all I had to do was listen.
[voice-over] People have asked me what my goal was at that point, what was my endgame. Back then I would have laughed at that question. I was raised to be a champion, my goal was to win. At what and against whom? Those were just details.
[voice-over] There was a track star from Pasadena in the 1930s named [[w:Mack Robinson (athlete)|Matthew Robinson. Matthew Robinson shattered the Olympic record in the two-hundred at the Berlin Games in 1936. Absolutely shattered the Olympic record...and came in second. The man who came in first was Jesse Owens. Owens went on to be a legend. Matthew Robinson went on to be a janitor at a whites-only school in Pasadena. The difference was two-hundreths of a second. As if that wasn’t enough, Matthew Robinson had a little brother who was also an athlete. His name was Jack but everyone called him Jackie. I have two younger brothers who were also overachievers. While I was ranked 3rd in North America, my brother Jeremy was Number 1 in the world. And while I was placing into A.P. Chemistry as a junior, my brother Jordan was doing it when he was 12-years-old or something, I don’t know. I was a hotshot student and a hotshot skier everywhere but my own house. And that’s where we live. As I got older I began to bait my father into fights without really knowing why I was doing it.
[voiceover] My game had a tricky ecosystem. It was built around escapism and exclusivity. These guys could buy their way into anything and anyone but here in this room you couldn’t buy your win. You couldn’t buy me, you couldn’t buy the girls and you couldn’t buy a seat at the table. There’s nothing as sweet as a win you have to work for and the wins and losses were compelling and they were real. Of course it helped that the players were gambling addicts.
[voice-over] When I lost the LA game I told myself it was no big deal. It was just supposed to be an adventure and a way to meet influential people. And I’d saved over two hundred thousand dollars. But that was just a weak firewall I’d hastily built to keep out the humiliation and depression I knew was coming. It had to end sometime, I just thought it would be on my time. I didn’t think it was gonna be taken away from me. And for such a stomach-turning reason.
Because it's all I have left! Because it's my name... and I'll never have another.
== Charlie Jaffey ==
Molly Bloom does not belong in a RICO indictment, are you outta your minds?! She does not belong in a mob indictment, she raked a game, that’s it, for seven months two years ago. Why? Because she was giving credit in the millions and she didn’t want to use muscle to collect. She’s had opportunity after opportunity to greatly benefit herself by simply telling the real stories she knows. I have the forensic imaging going back to 2007 - text messages, emails - movie stars, rock stars and billionaires who were explicit—some of them married with kids—but that’s the tip of the iceberg. A guy comes this close to being named U.S. Ambassador to Monaco, he’s withdrawn from consideration at the last minute and nobody knows why. She does. CEOs with college-age mistresses, an SVP of an investment bank who wanted her to help him put a marked deck in the game, the head of a movie studio who texted her that a particular star was too black for his taste, J. Edgar Hoover didn’t have this much shit on Bobby! She could’ve written a best seller, she could have been set for life, she’s got the winning lottery ticket and she won’t cash it. She settled the Brad Marion suit for a half a million dollars just so she wouldn’t have to testify and that was only the first time you guys cleaned her out. Your office took every dollar she had in a Constitutionally fucked up seizure and then you put the IRS on her to tax the money you seized? I’ve been in those strategy meetings. You broke her back so she couldn’t possibly afford to defend herself. And now she has an opportunity to guarantee her own freedom by just...“providing some color”...and she still won’t do it. This woman doesn’t belong in a RICO indictment, she belongs in Congress. She belongs in the pulpit of a synagogue, she belongs on a box of Wheaties. So yes I am, I’m imploring you to do the right thing. She knows nothing about the three Mikes. She knows nothing about Taiwanchik or the TGO or insurance fraud. Between the two of us we’ve appeared in front of this judge 28 times as prosecutors and not once has he deviated from our sentencing recommendations, he’s not gonna start now. I know you’ve been putting this bust together for three years and there’s no one who doesn’t want to see mobsters in jail, including and especially the only person in this room who’s had one of them put a gun in her mouth. Probation. Community service. Or better yet, consider that all she did was run a poker game exactly the same way every casino in America does and drop the goddamn charges.
== Dialogue ==
Molly Bloom: Why did you leave the prosecutor’s office and become a defense attorney?
Charlie Jaffey: My daughter.
Molly Bloom: You needed to make money.
Charlie Jaffey: That and I was usually one of the few people who knew where witnesses were being hidden.
Molly Bloom: It was dangerous.
Charlie Jaffey: Mm-hm.
Molly Bloom: So you didn’t leave the prosecutor’s office because you wanted to stand up for the innocent and believe everyone’s entitled to the best defense?
Charlie Jaffey: Not really.
Molly Bloom: It would have been helpful if you were Spencer Tracy or... I didn’t know who the Russians were. [pause] I can get you the two-hundred and fifty-thousand, I left ten times that on the street, it’ll just take some time.
Charlie Jaffey: We do pro bono work - we regularly lend out our best litigators like me to the ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, veterans groups - but I don’t think I can convince my partners to take a flyer on the Poker Princess.
Molly Bloom: I didn’t name myself the Poker Princess.
[Charlie picks up a copy of Us Weekly that’s been tabbed and reads]
Charlie Jaffey: “Molly Bloom, the self-proclaimed Poker Princess...”
Molly Bloom: That’s Us Weekly? I agree it would be unusual for them to print something that wasn’t true but it’s not true and if you think a princess could do what I did you’re incorrect. I’m getting that you don’t think much of me but what if every one of your ill informed, unsophisticated opinions about me were wrong?
Charlie Jaffey: I’d be amazed.
Molly Bloom: Yeah you know what, bud? You would.
Charlie Jaffey: You don’t need me, you need a publicist.
Molly Bloom: No, I need a fuckin’ lawyer!Molly Bloom: [voice-over] I’d overheard stories about games that folded after one bad night and I needed this one to keep going and I needed to bring value to it. I knew if I wanted to cement my place there was one guy I needed to team up with and that was this man. The game had regulars and the game had guests and four of the regulars were famous actors and I’m going to call one of them Player X. Player X subscribed to the belief that money won was twice as good as money earned. He lived to beat people and take their money. Here’s Player X talking one of the guests into folding the winning hand.
Player X: I swear on my--look at me--I swear on my mother’s life--I have you.
Molly Bloom: Player X was the best player at the table and tonight this guy was the worst. He’s staring at his cards - even a reasonably good amateur would know it was mathematically the best hand, which in poker is called the nuts. There was forty seven thousand dollars in the pot and the guest was holding the nuts but he was starting to get confused because a movie star was talking to him.
Player X: My mother’s life man, I’m not messing with you.
Guest: Why would you be telling me?
Player X: Either I am messing with you or you’re new to the game, you’ve had bad cards all night, you should’ve folded after the flop and I don’t want to win more of your money this way. I’ve got queens under here. Take your time.
[The guest takes another moment...then tosses in his cards.]
[Player X picks up his two losing hole cards - neither a queen - and shows them to the guest]
Player X: Fuck you!
Molly Bloom: [voice-over] A fish is a particular kind of player. A fish has money. A fish plays loose and doesn’t fold a lot. A fish is good but not too good. The Viper Room may have belonged to Reardon but the game belonged to Player X. People wanted to say they played with him the same way they wanted to say they rode on Air Force One. My job security was gonna depend on bringing him his fish. But where would I find people with a lot of money who didn’t know how to spend it and liked to be around celebrities?Player X: You know, I don't like playing poker.
Molly Bloom: Why do you play?
Player X: I like destroying lives.Molly Bloom: [voice-over] The game had given me an identity, respect, and a defined place in a world that was inaccessible and in one irrational heartbeat it was taken away. I was irrelevant and forgotten overnight. It’d been two weeks since I lost the game and I made an appointment to see someone because now the humiliation and depression had given way to a blinding anger at my powerlessness over the unfair whims of men who had leverage over me and I wanted to talk it out with someone. That was it, that’s what was making me angry. It was that there weren’t any rules. These power moves weren’t framed by right and wrong, just ego and vanity. Selfish whims with no regard to consequence. No fairness, no justice. And that giggling, cackling call from Player X...
Molly Bloom: [voice=over] I couldn’t lose to that greenscreened little shit and I didn’t want a therapist to make me feel okay about it. You know what makes you feel okay about losing? Winning.Harrison Wellstone: [in a deposition] Were the women who worked for you call girls?
Molly Bloom: No sir.
Brennan: They never exchanged sex for money?
Molly Bloom: No.
Harrison Wellstone: Have you ever exchanged sex for money?
Charlie Jaffey: [interrupting them] No!
Molly Bloom: I think he was talking to me.Harrison Wellstone: In Mike Davidoff's phone, intercepts alone, just Davidoff, your name comes up 19 times! "We need Molly..." "Get Molly..." "Bring Molly." It strongly suggests you were important to his business, so it's hard for me to believe that someone with your savvy and obvious intellect...
Molly Bloom: [interrupting him] They're talking about the drug. "Get molly" "Bring molly" "We need molly" It's... they're talking about the drug 'ecstasy'.
Charlie Jaffey: [pause] Shit. My office was next to yours for two years and I saw you make some bone-headed moves but I’ve never seen any prosecutor step in it the way you just did. You should thank all of the gods that there’s no physical record of that exchange.Judge Foxman: Based on all available information, this court manifestly disagrees with the government’s sentencing recommendation. This courthouse is located within spitting distance of Wall Street. I know this from my personal experience trying to spit at it. The men and women who work there will commit more serious crimes by lunchtime today than the defendant has committed in this indictment. I simply don’t see how either the People or the cause of justice are served by locking Molly Bloom in prison.
Molly Bloom: [voice-over] It was as casual as if he was ordering lunch off a menu.
Judge Foxman: Ms. Bloom, this court sentences you to two-hundred hours of community service, one year of supervised probation and drug testing and a one-hundred thousand dollar fine. This case is adjourned.
== Cast ==
Jessica Chastain - Molly Bloom
Samantha Isler - teenage Molly
Piper Howell - 7-year-old Molly
Idris Elba - Charlie Jaffey
Kevin Costner - Larry Bloom
Michael Cera - Player X
Brian d'Arcy James - Brad
Chris O'Dowd - Douglas Downey
J. C. MacKenzie - Harrison Wellstone
Bill Camp - Harlan Eustice
Graham Greene - Judge Foxman
Jeremy Strong - Dean Keith
Matthew D. Matteo - Bobby
Joe Keery - Cole
Natalie Krill - Winston
Claire Rankin - Charlene Bloom
== External links ==
Molly's Game quotes at the Internet Movie Database
Molly's Game at Mojo