The new movie, Molly's Game, which hit theaters on Christmas, tells a story that seems too wild to be true. Perhaps the most wild part of the story, however, is that it is true, and when asked how accurate Molly's Game is, the woman that the movie is based upon revealed that it is almost completely correct. In an interview with Vice, the movie's subject, Molly Bloom, said, "[It] didn’t deviate from the truth." Molly's Game follows the story about the former Olympic-class skier, who created a high-stakes, illegal gambling ring in Los Angeles that attracted major celebs like Ben Affleck and Leonardo DiCaprio.
It sounds like an easy story to fabricate, but in this case, the truth really was stranger than fiction, or at least strange enough for Aaron Sorkin to write and direct a movie about it. Bloom commended Sorkin while speaking to Vice, saying, "A lot of films in this biopic category play with a lot of creative licenses, and yes, there was some of that in terms of how he dealt with certain composite characters, but the rest was all true."
The story of Molly's Game doesn't just follow the true story of Bloom's creation of a gambling ring; it also follows the true story of her connection to Russian-American crime organizations and 2013 arrest for engaging in money laundering, among other things. In Molly's Game, Jessica Chastain portrays Molly Bloom in both her rise to infamy and fortune and subsequent fall from gambling ring glory.
Idris Elba plays Bloom's defense attorney, Charlie Jaffey, and his questioning of his client aids the story's unfoldment. It turns out, Charlie's questioning aided Sorkin, too, as so much of Bloom's story — regardless of the fact that it made headlines at the time it occurred — is so opaque. Like, how exactly did the Russian mafia get involved? And, what did Leonardo DiCaprio smell like? OK, that might not have been one of Sorkin's questions, but the screenwriter told Vulture, "So many of the questions that Idris Elba’s character Charlie asks her are questions that I asked Molly. He’s so curious about her and obviously there are pieces that are missing, so he keeps asking her these questions that, at first, she doesn’t want to talk about."
According to Bloom's interview with Vice, Sorkin's questioning of her allowed her to open up and share her side of the highly-publicized story. "[Sorkin] allowed for an honest and complex picture of what it’s like to just be a human being and make choices," Bloom said.
As far as how the real Bloom ended up with such a scandalous life, the so-called "poker princess" maintains that she knew nothing about poker as she began hosting games in Los Angeles in the early 2000s. According to the New York Post, Bloom wrote in her book that she relied on Google at the start of her poker career. "I Googled things like, ‘What type of music do poker players like to listen to?’ And I made mixes for the game with embarrassingly obvious song choices: ‘The Gambler’ or ‘Night Moves,’” Bloom said. In Molly's Game, Chastain's Molly similarly uses Google to learn about the actual game of poker, after hearing terms from the players at the beginning of her poker club career.
While she may have started her poker ring career as an outsider, Molly's Game reveals that Bloom learned fast, and she stayed in control of her highly profitable secret club until 2011. As Chastain told Vulture, Bloom shows a lot of admirable qualities despite her gambling ring's overall questionable morals. "It’s the story of a woman who uses her intellect and her competitive nature to become powerful in an industry traditionally dominated by men," Chastain explained. "It’s also a woman who has her own agency. She’s not there serving the male characters in the story, she has her own wants and desires."
In making both Molly's Game and the book upon which it's based, Bloom decided not to publicize any names of celebrities who attended her poker games. The stars whose names were revealed were leaked by an ex-billionaire hedge fund investor who ran a Ponzi scheme using money from Bloom's poker ring. "I made the choice to go into the world of underground poker. I profited from it, and these people enabled me to profit from it," Bloom told Vice.
As Molly's Game portrays, Bloom has a lot of remarkable skills to put to use in other ways now that her poker days have passed. For her, the story's just beginning, but the first part sure is incredible to watch in Sorkin's new movie.