The much-discussed movie “The Social Network,” which is based on the life of Mark Zuckerberg and the birth of his company, Facebook, opens this Friday at the 5 Drive-In.
Critics have overwhelmingly praised the film for its plot, acting and narrative, and say it offers an entertaining story with the tension of a typical Hollywood blockbuster. But beyond their critiques of the directing or cinematography, many have aptly remarked that the story of “The Social Network” is a modern fable for those who have grown up with the Internet, with Mr. Zuckerberg as its hero (or maybe antihero).
Here’s a roundup of what some critics have to say:
In his review in The New Yorker, David Denby sees Mr. Zuckerberg as “a symbolic man of the age, a supremely functional prince of dysfunction” who “leaves behind his friends as well as his intellectual inferiors,” which Mr. Denby calls “Zuckerberg’s tragedy.”
Andrew O’Hehir of Salon also enjoyed the film. Referring to Andrew Garfield’s portrayal of Eduardo Saverin, also a founder of Facebook, Mr. O’Hehir draws this comparison to F. Scott’s Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”:
As I’ve already suggested, this movie is more like a pessimistic, modern-dress reworking of ”The Great Gatsby,” featuring Garfield’s Saverin in the Nick Carraway observer role and transforming the enigmatic, self-constructed dude at the center of the story from a suave ladies’ man and party host to a tic-laden, hoodie-wearing introvert who can barely hold a conversation.
Like Gatsby, the Zuckerberg of “The Social Network” is almost pathetically consumed by the Girl Who Got Away, who drove him not just to play a vicious prank on Harvard’s female population but also to become the youngest billionaire in history.
In The New York Times, Manohla Dargis points out that the film offers history in the making, taking place in the “here and now.” She writes:
The conspicuous paradox that “The Social Network” plays with is that the world’s most popular social networking Web site was created by a man with excruciatingly, almost pathologically poor, people skills. The benign view of Facebook is that it creates “a community,” a sense of intimacy, which is of course one reason it also creeps out some of its critics.
So, the critics liked it. But the question is: will 500 million people want to see it (or recommend it to their friends)?