Saturday, January 29, 2011

Movie review: Social Network

Finally, after months of waiting, I watched Social Network, which was directed by David Fincher, starring Jesse Eisenberg. Here's the storyline from the IMDb website:

On a fall night in 2003, Harvard undergrad and computer programming genius Mark Zuckerberg sits down at his computer and heatedly begins working on a new idea. In a fury of blogging and programming, what begins in his dorm room soon becomes a global social network and a revolution in communication. A mere six years and 500 million friends later, Mark Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire in history... but for this entrepreneur, success leads to both personal and legal complications. Written by Columbia Pictures  

Here's the link to the official movie website. Basically, the story is a legal battle over the intellectual property of Facebook, interwoven with the back story of the creation of Facebook. It's an interesting movie that caused me to think about several take-aways.

1. The creative process is messy. The legal battle deals with who came up with the original idea of Facebook, as a product. If the plot of the movie is true-to-life, then just how Mark Zuckerberg came up with the idea of Facebook was truly a conglomeration of many ideas he was exposed to or dreamed up himself. I think this is why writers are sometimes skittish when it comes to working in a critique group when sharing original, unpublished ideas. The creative process feeds off of many ideas, and then we often assimilate all of those various experiences and thoughts into something new.

2. Facebook is no replacement of real, human relationships. As a matter of fact, as I've learned through bitter experience, Facebook can sometimes magnify hurts and brokenness between people. Or, on a positive note, it can pave the way for a deeper friendship. *SPOILER ALERT* The saddest scene in the movie is at the very end when Zuckerberg, a successful business person and creative genius, is sitting there awaiting friend confirmation from his old girlfriend. *SPOILER ALERT END* The bottom line is that there's just no substitute for real, face-to-face talking between people that helps bridge some of the loneliness everyone experiences.

3. Creativity can be a curse. Again, if the story is true-to-life, then Zuckerberg, like other creative geniuses live desperate, lonely, difficult lives. Think of Van Gogh, Keats, Faulkner, Hemingway, and many others who either suffered from mental illness or social awkwardness and alienation.

It was a thought-provoking movie that definitely provides commentary on our time. I recommend it.

If, by the way, you want to "like" Mark Zuckerberg, you can find him here on Facebook.

1 comment:

  1. I have this movie on my to-watch list, so I didn't read your post. I'll try to remember to come back when I finally do see it.