"Like" This

Within a week or two, I hope to have seen all of 2012 Academy Award Best Picture nominees I care to, but last year, I wasn't half so diligent. I've still got a lot of movies to catch up on, but I managed to get one under my belt the other night by finally watching The Social Network.

When I first saw this movie advertised, I have to admit that I dismissed it out-of-hand. I may have said snide, condescending things like: "A Facebook movie? What, they couldn't get that script about how Whole Foods was founded nailed down?" It sounded silly and pointless. Then, people started to tell me that actually, this thing was pretty good. Then, it racked up awards left and right. But as usual, I'm a late adopter. I didn't join Facebook until most people had already joined, and I didn't watch the Facebook movie until most people had already seen it.

Part of me still remained skeptical, but after watching it, I have to say that I was wrong. It's a very good movie, and I should have given it more of a chance. Jesse Eisenberg does a worthy job as Mark Zuckerberg, though I get the sense that playing an intelligent person lacking in social graces isn't much of a stretch for him. The only thing that struck me as odd about the other characters was how the filmmakers intended to paint these real-life people, both as heroes and villains. Nobody is portrayed as purely good or purely evil, which makes sense, given that they're actual people, and not characters in a Dudley Do-right cartoon. There are a couple of notable exceptions, though.

Eduardo Savarin (as played by Andrew Garfield) is the movie's martyr. Plunged into a shark tank he's ill-equipped to navigate, he's soon marginalized and cheated, despite his noble intentions. On the flip side, Sean Parker (as played by Justin Timberlake) is a opportunistic douche who radiates confidence, but folds like a card table when faced with any real challenge. I'm not complaining about these characterizations, but I do wonder how much artistic license was taken to enhance the adversarial theme of the movie.

In any event, The Social Network explores all sorts of interesting ideas, from questions about how far friendship stretches to whether people born into a life of entitlement are still due a fair share when they feel wronged. It also gave me a much-needed reminder that I should really think twice before judging a film too hastily. Unless it's Twilight-related. Then all bets are off.

The Social Network: B+


Niki said...

Like you, I wrote it off from the second I saw the first preview. I did eventually watch it about 6 months ago and I just do not get the hype. I kept waiting and waiting for something to happen for the movie to redeem itself. It was a total waste of my time. Incredibly boring.

Limecrete said...

I was actually impressed that I didn't find it boring, because I expected it to be.

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