One last thought about An Education. I loved how un-Sorkinish it was.
There are a lot of reasons that I tend to dislike Aaron Sorkin’s writing, but here’s the biggest one: The Sorkin Stammer. Sorkin gives us scene after scene of this: Our hero, a smartass expert at some field or another, sits there and smirks listening to the criticisms of a bloviating blowhard, then unleashes a withering, fact-filled retort, which leaves the critic stammering helplessly as the expert calmly saunters away. What can the blowhard say, after all? When you’re right, you’re right!
Except that’s now how life works. Nine times out of ten, your opponent will simply interrupt you before you can lay down any facts, but on those rare occasions that people actually bother to listen to your whole clever list of rebuttals, it’s only because they’re ready to blindside you with something you failed to consider.
Carey Mulligan’s precocious teenage protagonist in An Education wants to live in a Sorkin universe, where her superior wit and smarts will allow her to reduce her critics to jelly, but she keeps forgetting that, even though she may have the higher IQ, she also has a limited perspective, and they can see things that she can’t see…because that’s always the case.
Ouch. Even when her scene partner has no devastating comeback, they at least have the wherewithal to say some version or “Hey, it sucks that you’re trying to belittle me.”