Last night I saw THE SOCIAL NETWORK, David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin's film about the founding of Facebook. The advance buzz was so positive that I wondered if the movie could possibly live up to it.
It does. I loved it, and so did the five other people with me. You wouldn't think that a movie about a web page could be all that gripping, but this one offers so much. My main pleasures:
A balanced view of nearly everyone involved. Mark Zuckerberg, as written by Sorkin and played by Jesse Eisenberg, is multi-dimensional. He's insecure, vengeful, socially clueless, prodigiously gifted, painfully aware of his low status at Harvard, yearning, ambitious, and very, very young. I didn't like him -- he's not likable -- but I felt for him. More important, I believed him. He's an epitome of a nerdy type we all already know, but smarter and more resentful. Similarly, the friends he betrays -- maybe -- are not just stereotypes of (1) the aristocratic young lords of creation and (2) the overly earnest business major; they are real people.
A balanced view of the actions involved. Did Zuckerberg rip off his friends, or did he really do all the actual creation work and so be entitled to the success? Is Sean Parker of Napster (player by Justin Timberlake, with slimy charm) someone who led Mark into a morally bad decision, or is he a hard-headed entrepreneur without whom Facebook would not have become such a huge success? It's possible to view the lawsuits that form the framework of the movie in several different lights.
Sorkin's incisive, funny, rat-a-tat-tat dialogue. When I get to heaven, Sorkin will write a script from my fiction.
As I've said before, I am a Facebook drop-out. But that made no difference. I don't know how accurate this film's view of events actually is. But it's not a documentary, it's a movie, and a terrific one. Go see it.