The Social Network.
I had a chance to see it yesterday, and I must say, I was impressed. There was a smattering of applause from those in attendance, whose ages seemed to range from 9 to 99.
For those who don’t know, The Social Network tells the story of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his odd, if not at times outright narcissistic, rise to fame. There are ample articles and blog posts concerning the “truth” of much of the movie — is Zuckerberg the quirky revenge-minded oddball portrayed on screen or was it all drama merged with the truth as one could glean it second or third hand?
I don’t know Zuckerberg, so I can’t make any judgments on this score. His life and his doings are really fodder for his own mind, not ours.
But for all of the controversy surrounding the movie and its relationship to real life, Aaron Sorkin’s script holds something important in its depths — a life lesson about fame versus friendship. As the movie progresses, flashing from deposition to action, we are taken on a journey through Zuckerberg’s strange, and somewhat unexpected, rise to Internet fame. We peek through the Facebook keyhole as Mark makes friends and enemies, often finding trusted partnerships in places the audience knows he shouldn’t go. It’s almost as if we are in on the ongoing joke that fast-won cyber friends will always pale in comparison to the real thing.
A fact of which The Social Network’s Zuckerberg seems to be unaware.
The opening and closing scenes are worth the price of admission alone, as they illustrate for us the importance of maintaining relationships in flesh and blood, lest we lose ourselves in our own digital creations. Sorkin captures the dangers of snubbing our noses at companionship, opting instead for a rugged individualism that is often more a foisted by-product of anger and frustration than good ol’ self-imposed, respected sabbatical.
If you go to see The Social Network, watch it for more than its truth or its underlying genius. Table your envy and your dedication to Facebook.
Instead, see it as yet one more in a line of commentaries. A warning, if you will. Because in the end, no matter how many people “friend” you, you still need to be a friend back.
If you aren’t, you may just see your network crash.