Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Social Network (2010)

Director: David Fincher (1)

Cast: Jessie Eisenberg (2), Andrew Garfield (3), Justin Timberlake (4), Armie Hammer (5), Rooney Mara (6), Malese Jow (7), and Wallace Langham (8)

My favourite dialogue - 
Mark Zuckerberg: I went to my friend for the money because that's who I wanted to be partners with. Eduardo was the president of the Harvard Investors Association, and he was also my best friend.
Lawyer: Your best friend is suing you for six hundred million dollars. Mark Zuckerberg: (sarcastically) I didn't know that, tell me more.

Which is more important? Money or friendship? That to me is the heart of the film. Yes, The Social Network is a film about Facebook and its founders, whether it is fact or fiction is not as important to me as what I take away from watching this film. 

It isn't easy to start a business. And I believe that it is even harder to maintain a business with a friend or family member. When money comes between a relationship, everything gets muddled up. Emotions run high. Now when it comes to business, emotions and irrational behaviour should be left outside the office, but when you are working with someone who affects you emotionally, it becomes very difficult to be rational and impartial. Well I am not a businesswoman, and I don't know much about being one. And I'm not saying you shouldn't start a business with a family member or friend. I'm just saying that if you want to do so, you have to know where to draw the line and make things very clear from the beginning.

Friendships are very important to me. I have few very close and good friends, and those that I have, the people that have stuck with me throughout the years, I treasure what I have with them dearly. And what made me sad when I watched The Social Network, was because I was witness to the events that caused the failure or breaking down of a friendship. Although I never saw what Mark Zuckerberg's friendship with Eduardo Saverin was like prior to the film, the actors' expression during the discussions at the lawyer's office told me what made both of them hurt the most. It wasn't about the money. It was about how they ended up hurting each other and ruining their friendship. This brings to mind the phrase "money is the root of all evil". I don't know if in real life this is what happened or whether they are still friends now, but I wish they were. I wish that the characters in the film and in real life have put the past behind them and remained friends. 

Have you ever lost a friend this way? Because of money? Or because of a business venture gone wrong? It hurts doesn't it? To realise that to that person who cares less about the friendship, you are just a pawn on a chess board. Someone they needed at the point in time, and not someone that cared if you were upset, or hurt, or slighted. 

I had The Social Network on my to-watch list for ages now. I only just watched it today because of Andrew Garfield. I recently watched him in The Amazing Spider-Man and I was curious to see him in something else besides his Spider-Man tights and mask. His performance in this film was pretty impressive. I could feel his pain and could feel how hurt he was to find out how his friend played him out. 

The other person who impressed me was Jesse Eisenberg. His Mark Zuckerberg gave me an insight to a man who hurt because he was hurting. A man who was complicated and just wanted to be accepted for who he is and to be understood. And sadly, his jealousy made him turn his back on the only friend who accepted him for who he is and understood him. While I started out thinking his character was a jerk, by the end of the film, I just saw a man who regretted his actions but found that it was too late to make things right (with both Eduardo and Erica). 

When I watched the film, I was also pleasantly surprised to see two of my favourite television actors amongst the cast of The Social Network - Wallace Langham and Malese Jow. Although they only had bit parts in the film, I was still happy to see them nonetheless. 

The film isn't just about friendship of course. It also shares a story of how Facebook's origin. And I always love an origin story. Its amazing isn't it. To discover the origins of how something came about. Is it fact or fiction? Maybe one day there'll be another film to tell another version of the rise and founding of the social network that is Facebook. But at the moment, if the events in The Social Network is indeed true, its amazing, isn't it? How Facebook changed all our lives, well most people's lives. It may not be a great life-changing moment. But it has changed us and has a great impact on many people's lives. To quote the character of Marylin Delpy, "Bosnia. They don't have roads but they have Facebook." It tells me how a person's life can change with just one idea. One great idea, put into action. 

The film was a little slow and it took a while to get the style of the film and understand what was going on at first. Its a stew. It plants a seed in your head then lets you wrap your head around the story and the theme. It doesn't tell you what you should look out for. Instead it makes you form your own conclusions and asks you to think about what its trying to say. And in my opinion, this film is about friendship and the loss of friendship. It is not how successful we end up being, its about how we get to where we want to go. 

(1) Director David Fincher directed films like Ailen 3 (1992), Seven (1995), Fight Club (1999), Panic Room (2002), Zodiac (2007), The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (2008), and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011). 

(2) Jessie Eisenberg has acted in films like Aventureland (2009), Zombieland (2009), To Rome With Love (2012) and Now You See Me (2013). He also voiced the lead character of Blue in Rio (2011)

(3) Andrew Garfield has acted in films like Lion For Lambs (2007), Boy A (2007), The Other Boleyn Girl (2008), The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus (2009), Red Riding (2009), Never Let Me Go (2010), and The Amazing Spider-Man (2012). He also played Biff Loman on Broadway's Death Of A Salesman (2012).

(4) Justin Timberlake started out in the New Mickey Mouse Club then sang with the boyband N’Sync. He has since gone solo and has acted in films like In Time (2011), Bad Teacher (2011), and Friends With Benefits (2011). He has also done voice work for films like Shrek The Third (2007) and Yogi Bear (2010).

(5) Armie Hammer has acted in film J. Edgar (2011) and Mirror Mirror (2012).

(6) Rooney Mara has acted in films like A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010) and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011). 

(7) Malese Jow has acted in as the vampire Anna in the television series The Vampire Diaries (2010-2011).

(8) Wallace Langham has acted as David Hodges, one of the lab guys on the television series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2003-Present). He also acted in the films like Daddy Day Care (2003) and Little Miss Sunshine (2008).

The Eclectic Reviewer thinks… The Social Network makes me sad because it reminds me of friends I lost along the way. But it also reminds me that I should treasure the friends I do have and to appreciate them for sticking around, for understanding me, and for accepting me for who I am. (3 of 5)

* Movie Poster from Wikipedia

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