Sunday, November 27, 2011

David Fincher's The Social Network (2010)

Just got around to seeing this, right on time.  Don't have much to say except that, despite all the acclaim it got, I guess I was still doubtful that much could be made of the story, and that I was wrong.  It's a serious movie - if only because it lays bare, in an artful way, the obvious metaphors inherent in the whole thing.  I mean, what we all realized, in that three or four year period in which we all joined Facebook, was that the site was not at all redefining the way we interacted, but rather was codifying and making explicit what was already happening in our lives.  The movie brings that out nicely.

It reminded me of one of my college roommates, a history major who used to tutor freshmen.  I'd lie on my bed half-reading and half-listening to him, and one day he told a freshman, what you have to realize is, everybody who ever lived is basically driven by a desire to get laid, and that includes famous historical figures.  It all comes down to sex, and sometimes food.  Later I realized it was hardly an original argument, but it was the first time I'd heard it, and it made a big impact on me.  This movie gets that.

My other reaction to the film was one of total wonder.  I was at Harvard during the years when this all happened, but I was totally oblivious to it.  I was a grad student, and at least in my department that seems to have meant being almost totally estranged from the undergraduates.  I'd teach them, but I never really understood their world.  I have no idea, therefore, if this movie gets that right.  Hell, I didn't even join Facebook until it was opened to everyone, and then only because I heard about it from family members, not fellow Harwardians.