Notes on the film The Social Network

Adapted from Ben Mezrich’s non-fiction The Accidental Billionaires, what I really liked about The Social Network is its half cynical account of ambitious Ivy League over-achievers, the postmodern angst syndrome and the sordid post Web 2.0 social reality. Stark and fast-paced, thanks to Sorkin’s West Wing Hollywood style and mind-blowing music score, the narrative shifts between Mark Zuckerberg the billionaire, faced with charges and accusations, and the teenager holed up in his college room in Harvard, spurned by his girlfriend. Serious, silent, full of intensity and wry humour, Jesse Eisenberg does an excellent job bringing to life Facebook founder’s rollercoaster life.

the social network

For me, the most memorable scene was the film’s ending when Zuckerberg sets his hope on re-establishing friendship with Erica, whom he once called bitch, waiting and waiting for her to respond at the other end of Facebook. In his quest to prove himself he has failed to hold on to things that he cares about: love, and friendship with his college best mate Eduardo.

The dialogues have been a let-down, being mostly glib, predictably commercial one-liners. Moreover, I don’t see why the story must start with the teenager’s failure of the relationship. It serves the purpose but it lacks depth and originality. Think of the much more refreshing personal portrait of John Lennon rendered in the film Nowhere Boy, which unravels the singer’s life history in a much less linear way.

The movie reminded me of my recent experience to work with an entrepreneur. He was, as I expected, quick to take me on and to give me free reign with the project scope, daring me to interpret the task. He did not set me a deadline, instead he would hope that I deliver much earlier than he expected, rewarding each quick turnaround. The experience reminded me of that almost unmistakable trait among successful entrepreneurs: the voraciousness and intensity, the out-of-the-box thinking and above all, the courage to jump from one thing to another without taking one’s eye off the goal.