I finally got around to seeing The Social Network. I don’t know how many people have seen the movie, but I would venture to guess far fewer than there are members of Facebook, once called The Facebook. There were only about 20 movie goers in the theater on the Sunday evening I attended. The truth of the matter is that The Social Network, the movie about the beginnings of Facebook, is just an ok flick. Sure, it had good acting and smart dialogue. And I got a kick out of seeing Cambridge and Harvard Square on film because I’ve been there a million times but the movie might have been better as a documentary – even a mocumentary. There were certainly some stereotypes of the Harvard community on exhibit from the nerdy socially inept beer drinking geeks, including the Facebook inventer, Mark Zuckerberg, played by Jessie Eisenberg, to the wealthy arrogant rowing twin fraternity brothers who may have made it to Harvard via privilege and legacy and not perfect SATs. And the filmmaker takes a jab at the elitist secret Harvard “Final” clubs, not Finals clubs as Zuckerberg points out to his friend, Erica Albright, played by Rooney Mara, the girlfriend he lost; the one he never had, and the one for whom Facebook was launched. The same girl who tried to excuse herself from the date gone bad by saying that she needed to go study only to be told by Zuckerberg that she didn’t need to study because she goes to BU. The same Mark Zuckerberg who is told by a young female lawyer that he is not an asshole, but just tries too hard to be one.
It’s odd to think of the origins of Facebook as a prank to get even for a rejection. In fact, that Facebook has any roots at all is a strange thought. For me, Facebook has just always been around – kind of like TV and computers. That some Harvard geek invented or perhaps even “stole” it from some others at Harvard who had the idea first, but not the technical know how to create it is kind of a letdown. It makes Facebook seem not so cool in the end. And if you’ve seen the movie, you understand the reference to coolness. Maybe there was a time when Facebook was really cutting edge fresh and cool, but I think that time has long passed.
My favorite part of the movie came at the end when Zuckerberg friend requests Erica, the woman who started it all. He just sits at the computer hitting refresh over and over again.