DISCUSSION: The Social Network

One of the most highly anticipated films of the year opens today. The Social Network, directed by David Fincher and written by Aaron Sorkin, stars Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Armie Hammer, Justin Timberlake and Max Minghella. Yes, it’s the “Facebook movie.”

Script‘s west coast editor Joshua Stecker calls it “a generation-defining film, on par with the likes of The Breakfast Club, Clerks, and American Graffiti; films that captured the collective consciousness of the college generation of its time. This is that film for the 2000s.”

Do you agree? Disagree? What did you think of the film? What did you think of Sorkin’s screenplay? Fincher’s direction? The performances?

Post your comments about The Social Network below and let’s get the conversation going!

WARNING: Spoilers below!

15 thoughts on “DISCUSSION: The Social Network

  1. Mike Cregan

    I am of two minds on the movie. First, as a movie, it works extremely well. Holds your interest tightly all the way through. Great dialogue. On the other hand, I don’t see it as any kind of “generation defining” film. Or, let’s say, it may define the generation for older folks.

    Third, after becoming a bit familiar with the background facts, I’d say the film does not present any kind of true picture of the people or events. Again, as a dramatic story, independent of the events, it is fantastic. Viewed as fiction, it’s great.

    I’ve seen many interviews with Zuckerberg from a few years ago to present. He is nothing like the character shown in the film. He is extremely well spoken. His delivery is very smooth and not ackward or socially weird in the least. He looks directly at the person talking to him, and I’ve never seen even one moment of sarcasm.

    Also, having been involved in some start ups as founder, I know how it is when you get someone involved who thinks that since the original agreement says they get “X,” then, they don’t have to do much to get their “X” from then on. It would like someone selling a script that calls for rewrites, but who refuses and still thinks he ought to get “X.” In the silicon valley culture, they don’t let you do that. You’ve got to keep contributing until the project gets totally off the ground.

    Also, the movie hid that Eduardo got about $1.3 billion in stock. He didn’t end up too bad.

    Lastly, there was a book about 15 to 20 years ago with a similar title to the one this one was based on. It was called Accidental Millionaire. It was about Steve Jobs. The author was trying to make a similar point about him. The main theme was that he was only lucky to have been involved in Apple and that his millions were purely the result of “accident” or luck not talent or drive. This came out just after he was kicked out of Apple a while back.

    Pixar, Disney, a return to Apple, the iPod, iPhone, iPad and the most valuable tech company on the planet later, Jobs demonstrated that the author didn’t know crap about anything–except writing. Sorkin is kind of the same, but not quite as bad.

    But, he does know writing very well and the movie, as a movie, is great and one of the best this year.

  2. madison morgan

    this is a brilliant movie…yes we hate mark, sean, feel sorry for the twins… and”HIS” ONLY FRIEND….but for 2 hours we are filled with emotion…and think about how many times we had an idea and it was taken from us…sound track was great…dialog…sharp…acting brilliant…filming…pricless…i have now watched it 3 times and would watch this film several times…and when i leave the theater i am p****D off but then i break all of it down to one great story….love it… i am sorry i did not come up with the idea….lol

  3. Andrew ShearerAndrew Shearer

    Ah, this is where Sorkin is wrong! We ARE communicating via the internet! Josh, to your comments, I completely agree about identifying with and sympathizing with Mark’s character during the moment you site. However, can that sustain an entire film? One moment? In a great anti-hero film, when the anti-hero pushes the audience further and further away, somehow the writer finds a way to pull us deeper into the recesses of the anti-hero’s soul to help us understand where they are “really coming from.” But I assume because this was based on a true story, Sorkin chose not to go there. And I think the film suffered unfortunately – because I bet there’s tons underneath Mark’s character that would be a lot more interesting to see than half the party scenes we witnessed in that movie.

  4. Mario Tenorio Jr.

    O.K. I am sure all negative reviewers, if given a chance, would write a better screenplay. Oh!.. guess what, here’s your chance. I can sense your creative impetus, so why don’t you write something better, you are a screenwriter, or are you? Or maybe you are just a critic, ok that’s what you are. Sorry! my bad! We’ll I think the story is brilliant and the way it is told is a great piece of solid “story”. Because a no good story, will render a no good movie and this movie will show how great it is at the box office. This is an American story not an Artsy European movie, which I also like. And this is the way an
    American story is told, the directing is superb, the Social Network, directed by David Fincher is the new Block buster in it’s full sense of the word. It will also inspire this and future generations of young talent to excel in their undertakings and influence them to successfully discard the un-necesary aspects of human behavior.

  5. Margot White

    I have to agree that the film is brilliant, but I have a few quibbles –nothing to do with the lack of closure on the Eduardo/Mark relationship. The screenplay was, of course, knife-sharp and the dialogue was everything one would expect from Sorkin — witty, incisive, clipped and elegant. But the characters, with a few exceptions, were relentlessly one-dimensional and unlikable. I suspect they were in life, as well. (We all know Larry Summers by now.) WIth the exception of the girlfriend in the opening scene, the parade of uber-narcissists– with the exception of hapless Eduardo — made this film almost nauseating. Sorkin’s dislike of his main character came through loud and clear. A more repulsive and relentlessly nasty mysogynist is hard to imagine and my loathing increased as the story progressed. I agree with Sorkin’s unwillingness to give us a pretty ending or a redemption theme. One of the comments here criticizes Eduardo for pulling out his money, but he had no other weapon to use against such an unfeeling zombie as Mark Zuckerberg. If Zuckerberg’s personality type defines his generation, god help us. Lots of geniuses throughout history have had their “one supreme thought” without being such ‘a–holes.’ The only quibble I had about the film was the soundtrack. On one level, it was as grating and unappealing as Zuckerberg’s personality (perhaps composed for that purpose to be about as pleasurable as fingernails on chalkboard), but it was difficult to sit through. The film was brilliant and utterly unpleasant — like its anti-hero.

  6. william

    Depressing “reality” faux documentary, about a dinkhead, by a director who’s a dinkhead. What’s to like? It made me sad. Sure, witty dialogue that, you get tired of very soon…to not care about any of it after awhile. FAIL!

  7. Bill Reising

    I complete had complete sympathy for Mark. I can’t wait to read the book.
    For me, having been thru the experience of a successful startup in San Francisco, the actors portrayed brilliantly the script which hit all of the right points of that it is like to be there as history is being made and the superhuman effort that it takes for original thought and to turn that into a 1000 Million (as we used to call it).

    I felt their pain directly! and then there is a moment when the the ‘thing’ takes on a life of its own and like some kind of black hole starts sucking in the entire internet…

    Oh! how I want to do that one more time before I die!!!!
    Fantastic movie! Thank you!v sooooo much!!

  8. Patrick Edgeworth

    All the classic movies Script Gurus refer to were written by people who knew their craft and never read a Script Guru.

    I suspect the brilliant Aaron Sorkin might fit that mould.

    Am I right?

  9. Joshua SteckerJoshua Stecker

    Andrew… It’s funny we have totally differing views of the film. There’s one moment – less than a second on screen – that sold me on sympathizing with the Zuckerberg character: When Sean goes in to hug Mark when they passed one million users. The look on Zuckerberg’s face: pain, uneasiness, his hands in an almost fetal position, his complete comfort zone disturbed… It was that moment I sympathized with that character, and everything before and after took on a different tone with me. I understood where Mark was coming from, whether I agreed with it or not. For that brief moment, I saw and felt his pain. He just lost his best friend – his ONLY friend – in the wake of all his success. And for that brief second, he let it show. The other 1 hr and 56 min. he comes off as a jerk. But that one moment told me there was much more to this character than we’ve seen. Would I have liked to see more of that from him? Probably not. Then again, I’m not sure there WAS more of that to show. He probably kept that all inside. Eisenberg’s performance is so nuanced that Mark rarely shows emotion on anything. It’s an incredible character study, in my opinion, and Eisenberg’s performance is just great.

    Regarding the Eduardo/Mark relationship… I didn’t need to see their ending wrapped in a nice bow. As soon as they cut to the first deposition scene and we see Mark and Eduardo sitting across the table from each other, I knew how it was going to end. The same goes for the Winklevoss twins. Eduardo, as portrayed in the film, was dragging behind the company and nearly shuts it down when he closes the bank accounts. His firing, while totally cruel, made sense. Even if Sean is portrayed as a jerk and the “bad guy.” For me, it made for a great climax.

  10. Andrew ShearerAndrew Shearer

    And the discussion begins! Although Sorkin is one of my favorite writers of all time, and I feel he delivered entertaining scenes and witty characters (as usual), I personally don’t think this movie works as a story on film. I guess what I asked myself after feeling empty when the credits rolled was, “Is this a story worth telling?” And the answer I came up with is, not in the form it was told. I’ve never hated a main character so much in my life. I can enjoy unsympathetic characters, but following Mark’s story became exhausting. I eventually just wanted him to lose the lawsuit and lose Facebook all together. And ultimately what I cared most about in the film was the resolution between Mark and his best friend Eduardo. And suddenly the movie ends with no resolution whatsoever. Because that’s real life? That’s how it happened in the deposition? Come on, this is drama, you have to give us something better than that. I watched an interview with Mr. Sorkin the other night, and he admitted that he thought communicating on the internet isn’t “real communication.” He also seemed to not like his main character too much. I didn’t either. Every other piece of work I’ve seen by Sorkin has contained a sense of optimism, and this just made me feel shitty about the world. This is a case where I would’ve preferred less facts and a deeper look into what is really going on with the characters, even if it had to be “made up.”

  11. Diane

    I agree with Joshua Stecker when he says this film defines this generation where it’s more of a necessity than a luxury to have a smart phone and be reachable via various online social networks. I almost could not keep up with the rapid dialogue, however, and I hate missing a single word of Sorkin’s work. I liked the story, no matter how fictionalized it was, and I love however it was that Facebook came to be, cos I loves me my Facebook! Unlike the intended original purpose of “The Facebook” in solely collegiate settings, I’ve reunited and reacquainted myself with classmates and other friends I’ve not seen in 20 to 37 years! The AMPAS is going to have a tough time picking winners out of The Social Network, The Town, How to Train Your Dragon, Secretariat, and many other terrific films from this year and those that have yet to open. I was particularly impressed with Justin Timberlake. Do you like him or hate him? Same with Zuckerberg. Same with the twins. You both like and dislike each character for some reason or another. The protagonist antagonized everyone in the film. This script will be taught and discussed in film classes for many years to come, I’m sure.

  12. Joshua SteckerJoshua Stecker

    I’ve seen it twice and still consider it the best film of the year and one of the best films I’ve seen in a long time. I won’t spoil anything since it’s just opening today, but I can’t wait to sink my teeth into discussing it with our readers. Sorkin’s screenplay is sharp, smart, witty… pure Sorkin. The combination of Sorkin’s words and Fincher’s direction make for a dark yet fast-paced drama, decorated by humor and emotion. And for us geeks out there, the film is, dare I say… inspiring. I cannot recommend this film enough. What do you think?