Why Aaron Sorkin is cinema’s finest talent
is always a powerful man, whether that’s the title character in Charlie Wilson’s War, Matt and Danny from Studio 60, or Jesse Eisenberg’s Mark Zuckerberg.
Sorkin is repeatedly criticised for his failure to write well-rounded female parts, and for his tendency to show male characters ‘‘mansplaining’’ to wide-eyed, shrill female counterparts. His female characters are often flaky, emotional and disaster-prone; think Mackenzie’s email slip-up at the start of The Newsroom, or Donna in The West Wing, endlessly patronised by Josh. In films such as The Social Network and Moneyball, there’s barely a woman to speak of. It didn’t help matters when an email leaked during the Sony hack revealed Sorkin’s view that scripts celebrating powerful, funny women ‘‘aren’t there’’ in Hollywood. As wags pointed out, isn’t it time he write one?
He’s halfway there with Joanna Hoffman, Jobs’s put-upon marketing chief. Played by Kate Winslet, she is a force of nature; a woman who speaks her mind with verve and impact. She brings to mind C J Craig, The West Wing’s press secretary, as well as Sorkin’s Hillary Clinton-esque First Lady Abby Bartlet who surely deserves a spin-off series featuring her own White House run.
Naturally, Hoffman must endure several of the protagonist’s monologues. It wouldn’t be a Sorkin script without a passionate and long-winded piece of oratory from the leading man. If Woody Allen’s characters are famously neurotic, Sorkin’s are modern-day prophets, certain they know better than anyone how the world should be. Even his most notable Jew-
Intense: Sorkin, below, wrote the new Jobs film starring Michael Fassbender