The Social Network is framed by a typical boy-losses-girl-then-says-internally-I’ll-show-you!-then-becomes-important-though-never-forgets-the-girl kind of story. The boy is a Harvard undergrad, Mark Zuckerberg. He is the founder of Facebook. Most of the movie is set at Harvard. Harvard looks more excitingly foreboding than Hollywood here with all of its old-school and discreet power. The girl goes to a different university and we can’t quite remember her name. Because the movie is framed this way, the narrative tension and resolution rests on this simple arc and not on the other details of the complicated Facebook founding story. This is good news because it allows the Facebook story to be ever-complicated and truthfully unresolved while we still get the delicious full sandwich of a tidy story. The untidy part is up for interpretation. There are the Winkevosses – handsome, gentlemanly identical twin brothers. They are Harvard elites who are only a touch sinister. They seem to represent not only each other, but many of their kind that we can’t see. They believe that they have gotten their idea of a Harvard-only networking site swiped from under their noses by Mark Zuckerberg. They probably have, but it’s hard to worry about them too much. Some of us are not accustomed to this much privilege and it seems more wondrous and strange than what they think they got cheated out of. After Mark Zuckerberg gets Facebook up and running, we’re happy for him when he becomes friends with Sean Parker (founder of Napster). We imagine that it feels great to find a colleague who is just as obsessed by the same kind of creation as he is. We imagine that they have a lot to talk about. In this movie, this is when Mark Zuckerberg looks happiest, though the creators seem to credit the excitement to cheap glamour more than creative interest. It is hard not to take pleasure here in a representation of the older generation’s frequent blindness over Internet matters, as though the...
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