Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A film I wanted to love...

I'm an Aaron Sorkin fan. I mean, truly, a huge, borderline-obsessive, Sorkin fan. I have the entire seven seasons of the West Wing on DVD - legally purchased at full price. (Literally the only show I've bought this way.) I've read all of his scripts - produced and otherwise - and have watched everything he's made multiple times in case there's a stunning line buried amongst the other stunning lines that I missed in the first 47 viewings.

You getting this? He is a screenwriting god in my tragic little world.

So, I was (discreetly) salivating at the prospect of seeing Social Network. The reviews only made the wait - for it to land on our sunny/flooded shores - more angst-ridden and painful. The gap between its origin nation and my very own had never seemed wider than during those weeks of anticipation. The endless waiting.

And then it came. And the local reviews were generous, effusive, even a little giddy. Just what I was hoping for.

After a few aborted attempts, I successfully managed to buy a ticket and was ready to go. Finally free to indulge in some serious, dark-room Sorkin-worshipping when, half an hour into the experience, I realised something very strange...

I was watching a movie.

This might seem a statement of the bleeding obvious. Not worth mentioning, right? Except. This was an AARON SORKIN FILM. Are you getting it yet? When I watch a Sorkin story, I'm in it. With it. These people become my friends. CJ Cregg would be my daughters' godmother if only she'd answer my calls. Josh Lyman - my righthand man for my very next political coup. And Sam Seaborn? Well. I'm married, so best not to continue with that.

Thing is, I know them. I love them. I want to be their friend. I want them to love me the way I love them and, secretly, disturbingly, believe they already do.

But in Social Network, from beginning to end, I was aware I was watching a film. A very good film. Probably the best film for the year. But not a stunning film. Not an Aaron Sorkin film. Not - and I use this word advisedly, sparingly - a masterpiece.

Worst of all, it wasn't brilliant enough for me to forget what I was doing.

I wanted to love it. I wanted to buy it on DVD, download the script and study them both with the same envy-laden adoration that I've attached to all his work.

Except I couldn't love it. I could only like it very much. And sadly for Sorkin - although I'm guessing it won't bother him too much - I want more. No - I expect more.

Alas, poor Aaron. It must really suck being a genius.

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