Monday, October 4, 2010

Happy At the Movies

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.


Lou said...

Thanks, Nancy!

I had hesitation about going to spend my hard-earned bux on a movie (since they are all so damned expensive these days. Why, when *I* was a kid...)

Your comments are a ringing endorsement. I will go watch this movie and look for the same things you've mentioned.

If I'm not pleased, you owe me nine bucks.


Bryan H. Bell said...

I'm not a big fan of Facebook, but I am a big fan of director David Fincher, so I've been on the fence with this one. However, your recommendation has convinced me. My wife and I are going to check it out this weekend. Thanks.

Nancy Kress said...

I hope you both let me know how you liked the film.

Lou said...

Saw it tonight with the kiddos, the two older ones.

The younger of the two, who just turned fourteen, found it incredibly boring.

The older of the two had one question: "Was any of that based on a true story?"

Yup. Most of it.

Good recommendation, Nancy. I agree with what you said. He wasn't likable, but he reminded me of many of the people I meet as a recruiter.


Bryan H. Bell said...

My wife and I saw it this afternoon. Nancy, you were right, it was a good movie.

I was glad to see a film that handled computer technology without resorting to the usual cliches. In the same vein, the movie treats its audience like intelligent adults by assuming it will be able to figure out any unknown terminology by context.

I worked at an Internet start-up during the dot-com boom days and to my eyes this film did a pretty good job portraying the characters, attitudes, and culture present in such an atmosphere.