Molly's Game ★★★★

"You finished writing a book before the good part happened," Molly's attorney quips at her while simultaneously making a meta-joke about the movie we're watching.

If "Molly's Game, the book" was the base of the cake, "Molly's Game, the movie" was the next two layers, decadent filling in between, and sweet sweet icing on top.

Sometimes, nonlinear stories can be difficult to get invested in because you already know the near-end result of the story (Molly gets arrested for her illegal gambling operation), so there isn't as much suspense when you're watching the setup. Definitely not the case with "Molly's Game"... I was invested so quickly in Molly's character that I really cared about her wellbeing. I wanted to suss out how she fell from the mountaintop high of millionaire and successful "event planner," to the valley low of indictee in a federal organized crime case. I wanted to watch the placement of all the cards in her gambling ring, so I could understand *how* the house collapsed.

The incessant voiceover from Molly definitely irked me at first (one of my notes reads, "If I wanted this much background info, I would've read the book"), but it became more serviceable when I switched my point-of-view from Molly to Charlie. Instead of Molly monologuing directly to the audience for 50% of the movie, the VO makes more sense almost as the deposition that Molly is giving to the prosecutors, or as the explanation that she is giving to her attorney. Would I have wanted there to be less telling us the story and more showing us the story? Yes, if for no other reason than because my former screenwriting professor told me so. But the structure of running the past timeline (Molly's crimes) in parallel with the current timeline (Molly's indictment/deposition) wouldn't have worked without her connecting the two timelines by explaining what's happening in the past.