“The Social Network” is a movie about Facebook. There’s been a lot of hype about it, since that’s pretty much the first mainstream movie about the modern Internet and the social networking. And Facebook having half a billion registered users doesn’t sound like geek-only territory anymore. But on top of that, what added plenty to the hype was that the film is not a documentary. There is plenty of fiction in it. Not in the sense that things didn’t happen, but in the sense that they didn’t happen exactly as shown, and they weren’t as important as shown. Have a look at this Wikipedia page for more on that.
I was interested in seeing this movie for a number of reasons. First of all, I am much involved with social networking and the modern Web. And even though I don’t find Facebook particularly interesting for my personal needs, I do consider it to be paramount for the current state of the Internet. Secondly, I wanted to see how the filmmakers will balance the geeky nature of the story. And thirdly I wanted to see if I could disconnect from my technical bias and see this film as pure entertainment, without passing judgement to its authenticity.
So, here’s what I think about it. I was able to see at as a “normal person”. The film is not very technical, and it not being too accurate historically, I really didn’t have any other option. It’s similar to how “Inglorious Bastards” are not a historical World War II movie. So I had no problem with it.
The film is entertaining. I think the character of Jesse Eisenberg who played the found of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg was interesting. I was surprised as to how many technical details were allowed in a mainstream movie – Perl programming, web scrapping, security concerns over Apache directory listings, etc. And yet, how all these technical tidbits were not at all important for the film. I knew what they were talking about it, but I could in a very similar way had no clue and it wouldn’t have affected my perception of the film.
But even though the film was interesting and entertaining and wasn’t a waste of time by any means, I am still disappointed. I think that there is a lot of cool stuff going on with and at Facebook. I think there are plenty of cool people in and around it. And I think that the real history of Facebook creation or milestone episodes of that history would have made a way better film. It doesn’t have to be less entertaining, but it does have to be more accurate. After all, it does have half a billion of registered users. After all, it is one of the most successful business on the Internet. After all, it is a social phenomena. And I think that makes the history of Facebook and people who are involved with it very interesting.
I won’t however allow my personal wishes for this movie to interferer with what this movie is. And what it is a good entertainment bit. My rating overall – a 4 out of 5.