Face Club

Pasatiempo - - Moving Images - Robert B. Ker For the New Mex­i­can

IThe So­cial Net­work opens with a fun fact: there are more peo­ple of ge­nius-level IQ in China than there are peo­ple of any kind in Amer­ica. This is sig­nif­i­cant to the ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the film in two ways. First, it’s a bold ap­pe­tizer that sets the stage for a sharp, in­tel­li­gent open­ing scene — a break-up at a bar be­tween Mark Zucker­berg (Jesse Eisen­berg) and Erica Al­bright (Rooney Mara). It im­me­di­ately serves no­tice that the dis­mal sum­mer is over, and main­stream movies can start to be good again. And this is a very, very good movie.

Sec­ond, there is the no­tion of how it’s not spe­cial to be spe­cial. Zucker­berg scored a 1600 on his SATs and is a com­puter ge­nius, but all he wants is en­try to Har­vard’s ex­clu­sive fi­nal clubs. He wants it so badly that he feels it’s his only way to im­press Al­bright. When she tells him, “I want you to be the best you you can be,” he treats it like a con­de­scend­ing re­mark. And af­ter she dumps him, he goes on to cre­ate the most in­clu­sive club in the his­tory of hu­mankind: Face­book, the so­cial net­work­ing site with more than 500 mil­lion mem­bers that in­cludes you or most peo­ple you know, all try­ing to be spe­cial and re­flect the best them they can be.

But let’s go back a step. Zucker­berg walks home af­ter hav­ing drinks with Al­bright and types an an­gry blog en­try about her. Then he lashes out at the world even fur­ther, de­sign­ing a site called Face­mash that takes pho­tos of ev­ery girl on the mail­ing lists at the fi­nal clubs and puts the pic­tures up for users to grade them based on their looks. Zucker­berg con­sid­ers and then dis­misses an idea to rank them against farm an­i­mals in­stead, and this aw­ful con­sid­er­a­tion pops up in the movie re­peat­edly to make it clear The So­cial Net­work, drama, rated PG-13, Re­gal Sta­dium 14, 4 chiles

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