Molly Bloom is a name that may be familiar to some, but very unfamiliar to many. Nonetheless, her story is one that has been worth telling. So much so, exceptional movie director Aaron Sorkin created “Molly’s Game” to tell it.
Fueled by the emergence of online platforms, festivals such as the WSOP, and different TV shows, the popularity of poker has grown significantly in recent decades, and among those who love to play Texas Hold'em, Omaha or other poker variants are, of course, celebrities from movies, music, and sports.
The plot of the movie follows Bloom as she starts out as an Olympic-grade skier who becomes the hostess of the most exclusive poker club in the world, before becoming an FBI target. It is based on a real story, although it has recently come to light that certain details appear to have been left out of the film, with Sorkin using poetic license to make the film more compelling, in only a way that he can.
Sorkin managed to tell the story of Bloom incredibly accurately until the moment she moves to Los Angeles. While the overbearing nature of her father, the skiing career, and the accident she had, as well as her start as a waitress, were all true, the name of the club where she would ultimately end up working would be changed in the film.
Known to those who watched the film as “The Cobra Lounge”, the actual venue was called “The Viper Room” and could be found on the Sunset Strip, where numerous poker games were taking place all the time. It was a celebrity hotspot for many, although it was also famed for the death of River Phoenix in 1993 when he died from an overdose. The exterior of the club was also changed in the film, as it featured a neon sign that many associate with West Hollywood. In reality, the club has just a black finish.
Another change that Sorkin decided to make in Molly’s Game was to change the owner of the club’s name. She revealed that she had known him as Reardon Green in her memoirs, while Sorkin gave him the name Dean Keith. Both of those names are wrong, though, as he was actually known as Darin Feinstein. He was the man that brought Molly to the club as an executive assistant.
While there were changes to names, the rest of the story that was portrayed is allegedly true, according to Bloom’s memoirs, with her describing certain instances and situations that she found herself in.
Although Molly was careful to only name people that had been publicly outed by court documents and cases that had already been heard, Player X is one that many were left feeling rather interested in, especially as he remained unnamed in the film.
However, her book mentions Tobey Maguire, and he is thought to be Player X. The movie recognizes this as it eludes to his time portraying Spiderman in the mid-2000s. Molly revealed in her book that he was a “terrible tipper, an amazing player, and an awful loser.” Maguire was also alleged to have been the person to ask about having a high-stakes poker tournament and cash games in the basement of the club, with Bloom being tasked with managing the game and catering to the players involved.
Player X’s role in the movie was exaggerated a little, as he was shown to be taking control of her weekly game, but it was actually another player in real life.
The lawyer used in Molly’s Game movie - Charlie Jaffey (Idris Elba) - was entirely fictional. Molly had a lawyer in real life, but this was Jim Walden; a person that Sorkin did not even interview in order to get an accurate perspective on this part of the story. Gage Whitney is also a fictional firm and one that the director has used in other shows and films in the past, too.
Molly’s Game sees Molly and her father come together at the end before she goes on trial to act on his role as a dad, but this is not something that she wrote happened in her memoir. Bloom did write the memoir before her trial, though, and she did later work closely with Sorkin between 2014 and 2017, so she could have revealed this information to him then.
It was also noted by keen spotters that the lawyer had allegedly already read her memoir by the time they meet. However, this does not make sense as her book was published between her arrest and her trial. Therefore, it is unlikely he would have been able to read a copy before going to trial in reality.
Given that Bloom went to Sorkin to have her story told on the big screen, there is no denying that Molly’s Game is still highly accurate. The close relationships the pair created during the entire process certainly helped make this a well-produced and accurate film.
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