Film Review: David Fincher, The Social Network (2010)


‘Drop the “The”. Just Facebook. It’s cleaner.’

Age Rating: PG-13
Genre: Biographical Drama
Overall Rating: ★★★★

While I didn’t get time to watch The Social Network three years ago when it was released in cinemas, I managed to catch it on TV last night, and see whether it would live up to the good recommendations I had received from friends and seen online. And it delivered.

Starring Jesse Eisenberg as Facebook‘s supposedly socially inept founder, Mark Zuckerberg, the pace of the film was that of a genius who is three steps ahead of the plot. Due to this, from the first second the speech was rapid-fire wit – difficult to keep up with and reminiscent of watching and trying to follow a foreign language film. This, combined with the upbeat and loud music, left me scrambling to hear what was being spoken; but when I did grow accustomed to the style, the more subtle jibes and quality of script was very rewarding.

For all the good acting that was on display (notably, Andrew Garfield’s portrayal of loyal and perceptive Eduardo Saverin), there were some aspects of the film that niggled with me. Primarily was the glamorisation of college life at Harvard and other Universities; there is certainly nightlife and parties and a drugscene, that is not in question, but it all seemed a little more unrealistic than one would hope. This includes my secondary issue with the film, involving its presentation of women. Every girl on campus was of modelling-standard beauty, a trait not uncommon in cinema, however, not a single woman throughout the film was depicted as intelligent and sensible. The interns, notably intelligent coders and workers for the business, would happily turn to Class A drug abuse after a couple of drinks, and girls at intellectual lectures from world-leading thinkers such as Bill Gates, would rather try and get a date than listen. For me, this was all in bad taste, and left me feeling a little soured.

The dual timeline of the film was more successful, however. I enjoyed the switching between court case scenes and live action – even if it was, at times, a little disjointed. There were points at which I felt that character and situation analysis was being spelled out – taking away one of the joys of moviegoers. Despite this, the overall approach to this method of storytelling seemed to work well, adding to the drama and emotional charge of the film.

With moments of great wordplay and a heated connection between the protagonists, The Social Network would earn itself five stars were it not for the aforementioned pitfalls. While Aaron Sorkin’s script kept the creation moving and interesting, providing the viewers with substantial characters and narrative, his seeming indifference towards the negative image he gave the women in the film and the slightly incohesive nature of adjacent scenes left a little to be desired. For this reason, I deduct one star on its rating, and happily recommend it.


2 thoughts on “Film Review: David Fincher, The Social Network (2010)

  1. The glamorous universities and the negative portrayal of women can only come from Mezrich. I’ll venture to say it’s almost a signature of his, in most if not all his books, which I find rather odd: I was listening to an archived version him being interviewed by Elaine Charles from the Book report radio show. He’s nothing like the protagonists in his books. If anything he’s rather self-effacing and humble…and if anything I don’t think I know of anyone who can criticism as well as he does. That interview is on the show’s website archive pages: bookreportradio dotcom

    • I haven’t actually read the book itself – but I would think that the idea of the parties, etc., is very accurate; it was just that stereotypical Hollywood casting, where everyone is catwalk standard; in the original novel, I’m sure he wouldn’t have spent paragraphs describing the huge variety of absolutely stunning women in the room. I can imagine these aspects were doubled for the film, for dramatic purposes (as well as for a good trailer, no doubt). I think that, actually, the glamour would be quite an interesting thing to read as portrayed in writing, rather than as it is in the film. Maybe I’ll give the book a try in the near future. Thanks!

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