Vividly portraying the early days of Facebook and its anti-social founder Mark Zuckerberg, The Social Network goes behind the scenes of the social networking site we’ve all come to either love or loath. Just as there are very few “middle-ground” Facebook users (you either like the site or hate the site), I have a feeling this movie will garner a similar array of reviews at both extreme ends of the spectrum.
If you’re not at all familiar with what Facebook is, first of all, get out from under that rock. Seriously though, this film will probably not make a lot of sense unless you’re at least mildly familiar with how Facebook fits into the giant scheme of things on the web. On the other hand, if you have been using Facebook for fair amount of time, but never bothered to delve into the back story about its creation, this film may leave a bitter taste in your mouth when you get home from the theater and log into your Facebook account.
It is sort of like eating at a not-so-classy restaurant; chances are you don’t want to see the kitchen. While everything up front looks fine and dandy, there are things lurking in the back that are best left unnoticed. That’s how the Facebook story is. You see, there’s no need to know about the lies, greed, money and drugs involved in its founding if all you’re doing is using the site. Curiosity on the other hand drives us to want to know more and The Social Network delivers on this front.
We’re shown the true and maybe not-so-true parts of Facebook’s creation at Harvard in 2003 in a narrative that juxtaposes between building the site and litigating over who actually came up with the idea first. This method of filming allows there to be lots of explaining over why this or that happened, which is essential in understanding the Facebook story. At times however, the conference room scenes and arguments between both teams of lawyers can get a little dull.
All in all, this is an interesting movie about something very current and appealing to our day. There is a lot going on here and it involves much more than a website with a $25 billion valuation. So go out and see it with an open mind even if you’re not a big Facebook fan. The plot here is as old as time. The Social Network deals with social interaction, greed, friendship and the constant need for approval.
While not the best film of the year so far, it is definitely up there in the top five. Go give it a shot. Who knows, you might really “like” it. Finally, here’s my absolute favorite trailer for the film, which is itself a work of art: