Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Reflection on "The Social Network"

“How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people?” - the first line from the song "Baby Your The Rich Man" by The Beatles which ends the movie "The Social Network". In an awkwardly sarcastic way to end a movie that is filled with despair and loneliness, it has an upbeat feel to it.

On Wednesday, I was in Dallas to give two different talks, one in the morning and one in the evening. Having a lot of time to do whatever I pleased, I decided to go to the movies. I went and watched the new movie about Facebook called "The Social Network". This movie was striking in several ways.

First of all, the movie starts with a lightning fast conversation between the main character, Mark Zuckerberg (played by Jesse Eisenberg) and a his girlfriend, Erica (played by Rooney Mara). Mark is clueless to the emotional needs of the woman in front of him and is caught up in his own selfish world. The desire to be recognized, liked, admired, and powerful catches up to him when she decides to break off the relationship.

Mark, who is hurt by the breakup, decides to get drunk and then post negative commentary about Erica on the internet. This leads to an idea, which leads to other ideas, which eventually starts Facebook (called The Facebook originally).

The deep desires of Mark's heart are never satisfied, even though he finds money, fame, sex, recognition, and power. He just can't leave the thought of Erica behind. Why? Because every human being is made for something better. We can't be happy with just having our own selfish desires fulfilled. We have to live for something greater than ourselves.

Mark never seems to learn these truths.

The movie isn't a historically accurate portrayal of Facebook, but is based on Ben Mezrich’s book “The Accidental Billionaires”, which is a book that doesn't claim accuracy but storytelling.

What I liked about the movie:

  • -It displayed the hopelessness in a world in which we are the only god.
  • -Power, fame, sex, recognition, and money can't buy happiness.
  • -The storytelling is very well done.
  • -The acting was superb.
  • -It portrayed the perils of the world we live in today - with privacy on the internet being so important.
  • -The natural consequences of immature decisions is naturally played out.

What I didn't like about the movie:

  • -There is no answer given about what brings ultimate happiness - an agnosticism fills the air of the movie.
  • -Very little redemption is found in the movie.
  • -It isn't a very accurate depiction of what really happened to the history of Zuckerberg and Facebook.
  • -Though the ethics in the movie are questionable, a different alternative is never given.
  • -Too much sex portrayed. They didn't need all of it.

I give the movie a B+

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