Do you remember when you saw The Matrix or perhaps even Fight Club for the first time? Remember how groundbreaking those movies were, due to their ingenuity and ability to connect with their audiences, redefining popular culture on a massive scale? The Social Network is such a film to the degree that it represents more than just a website, it represents a worldwide phenomenon that has become an integral part of millions of people’s lives. I am going so far as to say and not even suggest, that The Social Network might be a generational defining movie.
Focusing more on the character and overall egocentrism of Mark Zukerberg, a man who the film presents as being a person that is not used to failing at virtually anything, the film is more of a character study than it is about Facebook itself. It shows a man’s rise to power and then his emotional fall. That said, the movie doesn’t offer much room for the development of its characters; people pretty much stay the same way, but director David Fincher gets you to ignore this screenwriting fault by getting immensely creative with the way he presents the story, providing flashbacks and flashforwards. Fincher knows exactly the sort of movie he’s directing and for what sort of audience the movie is geared to. There’s enough youthful glamour and popular culture references to appeal to this generation’s masses.
The Social Network operates on a level of mesmerism, the pace is simply perfect and you never feel bored. To make a film based on not-too-dramatic events into something that’s captivating, impossible to pull your eyes from, is no mean feat. Fincher obviously wanted to connect with his audience, trying to ensure that he would make a movie that found itself on the psychological plane the same as every young person to enter the theater.
Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, and Justin Timberlake are all names that people recognize by now and each have a certain role in the movie that they act out marvelously. Timberlake is of course the coke-snorting playboy, Eisenberg is allowed to be his socially awkward and superiority-complex-driven-self, while Garfield takes the more well-balanced road. For a movie that’s based on a website that allows for intercommunication, these characters are very bad at communicating.
The Social Network is an important movie; disregarding how it’s primary focus is on an egocentric Harvard student. Facebook is more than just a website, it’s the way hundreds of millions of people interact with one another. The movie connects with us, connects with this current generation in a socially conscious way that most films simply do not. The topic is relevant; The Social Network is a generational movie, one such as The Breakfast Club or even Rebel Without a Cause, movies that spoke to their audiences due to dealing with issues that mattered for the people of the time and then expressing them in a highly appreciative manner.
It’s accessibility to people of all ages is a key feature that distinguishes this film from a lot of others; the ability to create something that everyone can understand and become intrigued by is amazing. The Social Network, even though it’s not as great as the two previously mentioned films, and will not go down into the archives of life-changing movies, carries with it undeniable charm and dedication to a website that has transcended popular culture. While there is a titanic amount of creative liberties taken with the actual story as to how Mark Zuckerberg invented Facebook, this doesn’t take away from the flick’s overall significance.
Facebook represents a whole generation’s need to connect, to communicate with our fellow man. Unfortunately, this has led to us failing to connect as we have become more disassociated from people. We no longer take the time to write a letter or call someone up on the phone like in the good old days. The movie may not go over this theme explicitly, but it’s always there in the back of our minds. Despite whatever opinions you may or may not hold for Mark Zuckerberg and despite how the movie makes him out to be neither a hero nor a villain, that doesn’t mean you should ignore this film. If anything, The Social Network deserves every bit of praise that has been thrust its way, because even if you do not conform with the notion of just how important this movie is, you’ll be hard pressed to find something so commercially and aesthetically pleasing. Here’s to you Facebook!