The Social Network

A drama about the invention of Facebook and its founders, written by Aaron Sorkin and shot by David Fincher. The movie starts with a long opening tete a tete between nerdish computer geek and autistic-like jerk, Mark Zuckerberg and a young college co-ed he is out on a date with, Erica. It’s a brilliant scene that sets the stage for the film’s drama and delivers the thematic message all in one: She is not going out with him and people do not like him, not because he is brilliant or wants to be on the inner ring of power, but plain and simple, because he is an a**hole. A simple but profound tale of character and integrity and what it means to be alone in the world. If you can’t make friends, it’s your own simple fault.

This will be a multiple Oscar nominated film for 2010. It basically makes the ironic argument that the young man who brought us the biggest most successful social connecting medium of the decade, was unable to maintain friendship himself. The film really touches on some relevant important issues for today: The rapidly changing “cool” culture, the seduction of power, the egalitarian force of the internet to make lives and destroy them, the corrupting process of the “inner ring” in aristocratic culture like Ivy League education and old money, but also that same inner ring mentality in the world of enterpreneurship. It’s a rich panoply of human nature, guilt and unrequited love and friendship.

This movie is so full of so many memorable lines, I can’t remember them all. A broken-hearted Eduard to Zuckerberg: “I was your only friend.” Zuckerberg to the rich Winklevoss twins who claimed Zuckerberg stole their idea: “If you guys were the inventors of Facebook, you’d have invented Facebook.” Zuckerberg about the Winklevoss twins: “They’re just angry that for once in their life, things didn’t go the way they were supposed to for them.” There is a price for the witty arrogance and condescension of Zuckerberg, and his inability to be vulnerable, summed up in the last image of the film: his constant refreshing of the screen after he requests to be a friend with the one girl who didn’t want him for his success and reached out to him, the one he lashed out by posting his juvenile rantings of revenge against her. That little element of irony of a Facebook world: People “blog” or post their innermost thoughts without discretion to the whole world, and do not consider their public consequences, YET, they cannot be truly vulnerable to another human in person. Zuckerberg, after destroying the one woman he wanted on the internet, he hoped he could just erase what he had written, but he couldn’t, it was permanent, it was “not in pencil, it was in ink.” And so he longed for the intimacy he had sought, the sense of belonging that he obsessed over in trying to be in an insider’s “cool” “final club.” And when he betrays the only true friend he had, he ends all alone in the world, the one dread of existence.

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