"The Social Network" Movie Review (2010)

10/07/2010 Posted by Admin

"The Social Network" Movie Review

Directed by David Fincher, written by Aaron Sorkin, 120 minutes, rated PG-13.

By Christopher Smith

We don't talk much anymore, but we certainly do "like." And we "share," though not necessarily face-to-face. We're fans and we're friends, even if we've never met some of our 800 "friends." For many (they'll tell you otherwise), this is a game of numbers, baby. The more "friends" we have, the more self-esteem we have, the better we are and thus the easier it is to sleep at night on that pillow of faux popularity.

Welcome to the world of "The Social Network," which is the story of Facebook, where many readers likely spend at least some of their time. David Fincher directs from Aaron Sorkin's script, itself based on the book "The Accidental Billionaires," and what they've captured is a zeitgeist for the times in a movie that exposes not only the makers of Facebook but also, slyly, more than a trace of ourselves.

Have we ever been so isolated and social at once? Have we ever put such an effort into being social? And what about building our own social myths? We like to do that--a lot. Facebook is, after all, about personal myth building. Smile just right for the camera, say something meaningful or witty or provocative on your wall, and become the person you always wanted to be. With a few key strokes, you've positioned yourself with those who matter. You know, your 800 "friends." And just imagine if they share your thoughts with their friends--that's money in the bank. You might, after all, get even more "friends" out of it. And, as a result, you’d look more important to those around you.

And what's better than that? Well, plenty, but that’s for psychologists to figure out.

All of this, of course, is the core of "The Social Network," a movie that focuses on how a few Harvard students had the genius to tap into the human psyche and realize what they wanted most--recognition and validation. And friends.

For the founders of Facebook, it was something a little more intense. They wanted power, money, fame and sex, which Sorkin examines in a film that mostly exposes Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg, dark and excellent), who ruthlessly (sociopathically?) decided that possessing those elements was far more important than having real friends. The irony is staggering.

So beyond Zuckerberg, who created Facebook? As the movie sees it, a handful of people, most significantly twins Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss (Armie Hammer), Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) and Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake, exceeding expectations). Parker founded Napster and was nailed to the wall for it. It's how he greases his way into Mark's life that at once lifts Facebook into the stratosphere with his contacts and which also makes him lose face to his best friend, Saverin. Again, the irony.

"The Social Network" has an unusually difficult task to pull off--it has to make computer programming exciting--and it does so with aplomb.

Sorkin's script is one of the film's stars. It's consistently smart, tense and witty, particularly in the scenes that take place in the present, when Zuckerberg is being sued by the Winklevi, as he condescendingly calls them, and also by Saverin for their fair cut in a company all were instrumental in creating. The movie is at once light and brisk, but because Zuckerberg is filled with such self-loathing, bitterness and social ineptitude, it's also something of a tragedy.

Mark Zuckerberg may have designed a network that has created a virtual storage bin of 500 million people hoarding friends, but after seeing this movie, you have to wonder how many friends he truly can call his own.

Grade: A

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  1. Anonymous said...

    interesting, thanks