The Social Network (2010)
Reviewed on 2011 February 8
I’ve had many friends push me, some pretty hard, to get a Facebook account. I will not. For one thing, I’m a fairly private person. For another thing, unless my pets do something stupidly entertaining or the spouse comes up with a great line and I can somehow segue that into a movie review, I’m sure you really don’t care what I do (besides my job) and don’t want an update every time I do a load of laundry or decide I’m going to make a goat cheese and pesto tart for dinner or whatever other mundane things I do that you’re probably doing at the same time. Mostly, it’s the privacy thing. It’s ironic and frightening that Mark Zuckerberg now has has own stalker. Love Facebook or hate it, this David Fincher movie is brilliant and shows how the whole social networking thing got started.
Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg, shedding his sweet persona and acting as wired as if he drank a Starbucks Kidnii Explodii here) is a Harvard computer genius that’s about to get dumped by his girlfriend. After an exhausting conversation with him, Erica (Rooney Mara) tells him, in one of the best analogies I’ve ever heard, that dating him is like dating a Stairmaster®. In a drunken hissy fit, Mark slams Erica, something the jilted of both sexes have done since the first Neanderthal picked up an ember and drew a cave picture of their ex with stink lines emanating from them. The difference is that Mark vents his spleen on his blog, and he takes it a step further, culling pictures of other campus women and inviting people to vote on who’s hotter. From a night of beer and testosterone, an idea springs forth: A streamlined social networking site. The Winklevoss twins (both done by Armie Hammer) are golden boys on campus, who see how in 48 hours everybody on campus knows poor Erica’s bra size, and approach Mark about building a new site that lets the Harvard students easily communicate with each other. Zuck takes their ball and runs with it.
I like how Fincher tells a story, and Aaron Sorkin wrote a great script with some brilliant dialogue. I loved Eisenberg in this, and Andrew Garfield was wonderful as Zuck’s friend Eduardo Saverin. Besides the business end, the movie also touched on the effect of having your face out there, whether you put it out there or not. I think my biggest reservation with the whole thing is summed up by Erica, when she tells Mark that what goes on the internet is “written in ink.” That stuff is permanent. On the one hand I admit it is cool to just log on and see pictures of your friends; on the other hand, I’ve heard stories about HR departments screening for you on Facebook when you turn in your resume or bosses deciding they don’t like something you wrote and you’re suddenly “no longer a good fit.”
Three chocolate morsels, and a chocolate martini, not an appletini.