VIU Student Press

Winter break TV and movie reviews

Molly's Game. Photo courtesy of The Verge.
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Warning: Spoilers Ahead

The Crown Season 2, Netflix

Fans of the show are treated to the much anticipated backstory of Prince Philip, played parallel to the journey of Prince Charles as he attends the school his father once did. We see firsthand the damage of Philip trying to ‘make a man’ out of his young son and glean some understanding into the dark and chaotic character of the Queen’s husband.

The season also offers a closer look at Princess Margaret and her marriage to unconventional, and not-so-secretly polyamorous bisexual photographer Anthony Armstrong Jones. Though periodically accurate, it raises concerns when the only openly bisexual character of a series is cast in a taboo, villainous light. Interpreted by the other characters as dishonest and corrupt; in reality Matthew Goode’s portrayal is of a transparent man who believes in freedom of love, expression, art, and life. These are the characteristics which drew the princess to him in the beginning, and the ones that doom them in the end.

Overall, we see characters who are broken and flawed, trying to navigate a life they didn’t choose, and doing so with fantastic failures.

It is reported that Claire Foy, who holds the starring role as Queen Elizabeth, will not be returning for another season. This has raised speculation as to how much time will lapse between the birth of the children at the end of Season 2 and where the show picks up next year.

Molly’s Game, Molly Bloom and Aaron Sorkin, Entertainment One

Molly Bloom had been offered a screen adaptation of her book multiple times before arriving at an agreement with Aaron Sorkin. On the press tour for the film, Sorkin shared his unique vision for how the story would be told and convinced Molly to change her mind. Instead of an action-packed thriller about poker and a tell-all of shady Hollywood and Russian Mob-laden illegal gambling rings (which are present in the film), Sorkin wanted to tell the real story. The finished product is a film about what drives a woman at her core; why her reputation is so important to her, and the foundational relationship between a daughter and a father.

Jessica Chastain does the impossible job of appearing fearless and terrified simultaneously while playing Molly Bloom on the eve of her infamous indictment. “My name is all I have left,” is a power packed line, one that is unexpected—or is it?

The film is a multifaceted retelling of Bloom’s childhood, young adulthood, and career successes and failures. Often events seem unconnected until a climactic scene with Bloom’s father, played by Kevin Costner, where she comes face-to-face with the childhood trauma that has driven each of her decisions subconsciously. Her name is important because she wants it separate from the mess her father has made it; integrity is her end game because he had none. It’s poignant and messy: a must watch.