Tonight I visited Skywalker Ranch to catch an advanced screening of The Social Network, Aaron Sorkin’s fictional yet riveting account of the historic rise of Facebook. Our friend works at Skywalker Sound which worked on the post-sound production, and is headquartered in the same Tech Building where we watched the film. The Stag Theater is probably the most acoustically advanced movie theater on the planet, perfect for watching films with 300 of your closest friends. George Lucas was there, which apparently only happens with movies he is really interested in seeing (with 300 other people).
The film immediately draws you in with what becomes the film’s signature fast-paced, witty dialogue between young, hypersmart college kids. The opening scene captures a conversation between Sorkin’s version of Mark Zuckerberg (played by Jesse Eisenberg), an awkward Harvard undergrad hoping to get into a final club, and his short-lived college girlfriend played by Rooney Mara, at whom he proceeds to take the first of many intellectual and not-so-friendly jabs. Throughout the movie, Eisenberg’s Zuckerberg evolves as a smart yet insecure computer nerd trying very hard to fit in and yet always remaining on the outside of the social ‘in crowd’. In the end, he emerges as the world’s youngest billionaire, and yet the movie ends with him awaiting a friend confirmation from his ex, who no longer wants anything to do with him, despite his success.
Jesse Eisenberg’s acting is so brilliantly believable, it’s worth a best actor nomination, which would not be surprising at all. Despite Mara’s few scenes in the film, she gets to the deliver some of the movie’s best lines with sharp, comedic timing:
On how exhausting it is to date him, “It’s like dating a StairMaster.”
After breaking up with him, “Let’s just be friends” He: “I don’t need friends”
She: “I was just being polite, I have no intention of being friends with you.”
She: “Listen. You’re going to be successful and rich. But you’re going to go through life thinking that girls don’t like you because you’re a tech geek. And I want you to know that, from the bottom of my heart, that won’t be true. It’ll be because you’re an a–hole.” She walks off.
But the BEST quote from the whole movie, one that’s worth passing on to our kids, who are thanks to Mark Zuckerberg now growing up in the ‘Age of Facebook’ and ubiquitous social networking, is this: ““The internet isn’t written in pencil… it’s written in ink”. Indelible, magical ink.
The movie is worth seeing at least once, maybe twice. The pace is fast, the humor witty, the music and sound phenomenal, and the dialogue totally sharp and riveting. Even the least likable characters are entertaining, and while the movie is a brilliantly woven fiction wrapped around historical facts, there is no denying that the meteoric rise of Facebook (and of its founders’ fortunes) make for good storytelling. Watch the movie for yourself (opening tonight in theaters nationwide), and you’ll likely never look at Facebook the same way again, like it or not.
After the screening, we took a tour of the Tech Building and got to see the dubbing stage and the scoring stage where the Skywalker Sound folks weave their acoustical magic. When you watch the film, pay close attention to the audio soundtrack and you’ll notice how even during the noisiest bar and party scenes (of which there are many), you can still hear the dialogue between actors come through crystal clear.
Two thumbs up to Sorkin on a brilliant piece of perfectionistic filmmaking! I was thoroughly entertained, and could go back for more.