Whose game? It’s Jessica Chastain and Aaron Sorkin’s game and we’re all in for this winning hand. Together, they make Molly’s Game a high-stakes, sensational good time for all.

In his directorial debut, Sorkin uses the dynamic Jessica Chastain as his muse to tell the dazzling real story of the self-made poker madam Molly Bloom, who managed to create a multi-billion-dollar poker empire by inviting some of the richest and most famous men in the world to play in her underground game. But she didn’t start out that way. She was also an Olympic skier but after a skiing accident, Molly’s plans for the gold get derailed. How does a girl go from qualifying for the Olympics to hosting one of the most exclusive card games in the world? That’s where Sorkin’s voluble, masterful storytelling capabilities really come into play.

The audience is first introduced to Molly and her tough-love father, played by Kevin Costner, when she is about to have her life-changing accident on the ski slope. The film then jumps to a few years after she’s quit running poker games and she’s looking for a lawyer to represent her when the Feds catch up. The audience is left wondering what happened in between.

Sorkin’s decision to cast Chastain as Molly is a brilliant one. She completely nails the sexy yet shady Bloom who organizes illegal gambling for high-profile men and thus exudes a sort of control over them. Molly calls the shots. She’s respected, feared, and admired. Once more, just as Chastain has done in many films, proves that no matter how many powerful men she shares scenes with, she is still more than capable of maintaining control.

Pretty soon, the fun really begins when Molly’s ambition forces her to expand to New York to facilitate an even more exclusive game with bigger buy-ins and, of course, some questionable players. This is where Molly comes in contact with three different Russian crime families that will forever change the outcome of her precarious operation.

As Molly’s glamorous world starts to implode, and federal agents start dissecting her illusive underground poker life, Molly seeks the aid of a top criminal defense attorney played by Idris Elba. Elba shines as the eloquent lawyer who sees Molly for who she really is: a brilliant, ambitious woman with some issues with her father and dealing with men in power. But she is no criminal and ultimately, that is why he chooses to defend her.

Costner, as Molly’s estranged psychologist dad, steps back in the narrative before his daughter’s court date to try and make amends with Molly by offering her “all the answers” to her internal struggles. In doing so, Molly’s father gives her what he describes as “years of therapy” in five minutes on a bench in Central Park, which makes for one of the most brilliant on-screen psychotherapy of all time.

Molly’s Game isn’t to be confused with other gambling flicks like Rounders or The Gambler. That would be like comparing playing blackjack on the felt and to play bingo games online, everyone knows that’s not right. Molly Bloom is her own genre and it is clear Sorkin has very bright directorial filmmaking career ahead of him. Audiences can only hope that the dynamic Sorkin-Chastain duo will reemerge in his future films.