Most recent talks Film talks A-Z Before viewing talks Deep talks Sign up: email updates About the film talks Stay up on new talks Join the community
What's this site about? Inside out: Heart Inside out: Beauty Inside out: Love Thoughtful: a film's heart Thoughtful: film content Thoughtful: films to watch Who's behind this?
Register and login General PttH updates Film review sites Film site quick views Quotes The PttH seminar

The Social Network (2010)

"Before viewing" talks don't have spoilers, but since there's no "After viewing" talk for this one, comments may have spoilers. More»» by Randy Heffner

Is the film worth your time?

It’s a engaging tale, The Social Network, and well-told: Jilted lover thinks of revenge, scramble for a good business idea, corporate intrigue, broken relationships. It all could be quite stereotypical, and perhaps in some ways it is. Yet the way that David Fincher and team pull off the story of Facebook’s beginnings brings good questions to the surface. From the practical side: What is the nature of the core of a truly innovative idea? How can standard “business savvy” stifle real change? From the personal side: How does our self-worth get tangled with social hierarchies and relationship? Can we get past an obnoxious person’s character to recognize their potential value? In what subtle and obvious ways do we let personal differences and ambitions lead us to relationally destructive and disloyal actions? In the heat of the moment, how much do we really think about our actions and whether we will be able to live with them? The Social Network doesn’t embody the prettiest answers to such questions, but it’s exploration resonates with reality — and gives some reviewers cause to pontificate on the broader societal milieu which Facebook represents (and to be more cavalier than usual about spoilers in the review links below).

The film covers so much ground that it’s hard for it to extensively develop characters, but what’s not developed is strongly implied — we get enough of each main character to feel either compassion or repulsion (or both) for their travails and contributions to The Social Network’s fast-paced action (and sometimes even faster-paced conversation — be sure that your brain is already in high gear as the film opens). From the music (especially at the opening) and acting to the editing, direction, and sets, the filmcraft is very good. In particular, the screenplay very well compresses a complex story, with well-placed vignettes that add valuable color — even providing an accessible (if geek-talk laden) rendition of Mark Zuckerberg’s techie prowess.

All in all, The Social Network is definitely worth the time, especially if you’re interested in the story (note that Zuckerberg maintains that the film is fiction). There’s not a lot you’d want to emulate in the characters, but there’s much to learn from them (or be reminded of and strengthened in), and there are broader social themes to ponder. If you really don’t care a whit about tech industry intrigue or the broader themes, then you might put something else higher on your viewing priority list.

Mark Zuckerberg is a geek’s geek. He knows web software inside and out and he’s wicked fast at coding up new web sites. His answer to life’s problems is to drink and code, which leads to a web site of questionable wisdom, hacked together one night after his girlfriend dumps him. The notoriety he gains leads to new connections, a new project, and a rocket ride on a road full of potholes. Running time: 120 min.

The best way to characterize the content of The Social Network is that it embodies the college party scene in which Facebook was born. There is no graphic sex, but clothes are undone and implications are clear. Girls kiss. Drugs, alcohol, and language are notably present.

  • Director: David Fincher
  • Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, based on book by Ben Mezrich
  • Leads: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Armie Hammer
  • Cinematography: Jeff Cronenweth
  • Music: Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross

Tags: , ,

NOTE: Although Before viewing talks don't have spoilers, comments below MAY have spoilers
(spoilers are allowed in comments when a Before viewing talk does not have a corresponding After viewing talk for discussing the film)

Post a Comment

NOTE: It is okay to have spoilers in comments on Quick talks, but please do warn folks with "** SPOILERS **" or some such.

You must be registered (it's easy) and logged in to post a comment. Why?