Poker has always been a popular game to play both at an online casino and in real life. The life of a professional poker player has always looked like a glamorous one. This has made it an attractive storyline for filmmakers and writers alike.
It should come as no surprise that real life poker players have been the basis of a lot of Hollywood films. This is how the film Molly’s Game came about. There was a real-life poker player called Molly Bloom whose story caught the eye of Hollywood.
If you’re a fan of poker gaming, you’re probably already aware of Molly’s antics but they only became a global phenomenon after she wrote a book. That book caught Hollywood’s eye and the film Molly’s Game came into fruition.
But why was there so much controversy around the film? It has a lot to do with what was factually accurate and what wasn’t. We’ll take a dive into the fact and the fiction of Molly’s Game.
What did the film get right?
There is a lot of the film that is as close to the truth as possible. For example, that Molly was a professional skier. This is very much true and the only reason that she didn’t make it to the Olympics was due to an injury. In fact, it was on her qualifying run that she injured herself, literally falling at the last hurdle.
Molly really did start working as a cocktail waitress at the Viper Room. She worked for the entrepreneur Darin Feinstein when he asked her to host the game. And that was the first step into the poker world for Molly.
She also really did get $3,000 worth of tips on her first night. This fact is taken out of her memoirs and although it sounds like an unbelievable amount of money, it is factual. And similarly to the film, she went to great lengths to research and learn about poker in order to gain the necessary knowledge.
Molly was involved in a lot of the making of the film which is why so much of it is as close to the truth as possible. It might seem obvious to involve the person in the film about their life, but it isn’t always the case.
The buy ins for her games were also as expensive as they are in the film. They started out at a $10,000 buy in but they ended up being $250,000 at the height of her career. She became well known in the community as the ‘Poker Princess’.
But it wasn’t all glamour and money in this industry. There was a lot of danger in it as well, as the film suggests. The part where a mobster puts a gun to Molly’s head did genuinely happen. It wasn’t just her either, they threatened her family and stole cash and jewellery in the debacle.
Thankfully, that was the only violence that incurred. Molly later found out that the mobster had been caught by the FBI along with many others. Even though she was safe, it was enough to make her be more cautious.
What did the film get wrong?
As with any film that’s based on real life events, not all of it is quite as close to the truth as you might think. There is always a bit of artistic licence to add some embellishments to the story. So what events in the film didn’t actually happen in real life?
The Cobra Lounge in the film is not a real place. The actual poker club that the real Molly played at was The Viper Room on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood. However, for the film’s purposes, it was easier to create a fictional hang out spot.
This could be for a multitude of reasons but it’s probably easier to use a set rather than a real place. The real Viper Room is still functional and would be difficult and expensive to hire out to a movie set – especially for a prolonged period of time.
Idris Elba plays Charlie Jaffey in the film – but he’s not a real person. Molly’s real life lawyer was Jim Walden but he wasn’t interviewed or spoken to at all during the making of the film.
It’s said that Aaron Sorkin didn’t want to speak to Jim during the writing of the screenplay. Even though a lot of the film was to be true to real life, Aaron didn’t want to have to play everyone with historical accuracy. Therefore, he wanted to keep the lawyers and other minor characters in keeping with his own imagination in the script.
Despite the controversies, Molly’s Game is one of the most popular casino films ever made. What is your favourite part of the film?
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