May 21, 2013
Written by Mark Schumann, Father of Three
Wednesday, 06 October 2010 23:00
Each week, the Reel Dad checks the nutritional value of a movie — new or classic — to help parents choose what to watch with their children. This week’s pick is a new film, The Social Network.
We want, as parents, for our children to be happy and healthy and, hopefully, to discover a direction that will fuel their lives. We also hope they will remember all that we try to share with them over the years, what we try to teach them, and that they will stay true to the values we try to embed in their ever curious minds.
We never see the parents of the college students who invent Facebook in the fascinating new film The Social Network. We can only imagine how they might react to what their children accomplish and how their children, as portrayed in this excellent movie, dream and scheme, lie and steal as they create a new way for the world to communicate. The Social Network is a captivating, complex account of what can happen when talents and ambitions exceed judgment.
As moviegoers, we respect the sheer talent that brings this story to the screen. It takes a strong writer and brilliant director to create a suspense tale when the outcome is already known. We all know how Facebook started as a way for college students, and then students of all ages to connect and, ultimately, has reached to adults and businesses to total more than 500 million users. What happened behind the scenes is even more intriguing than the social network that dominates daily conversation.
Mark Zuckerberg is a brilliant college student. Ambitious and arrogant, he hides his awkward social presence behind a computer screen designed with complicated code. When he is approached by other students with an idea for a college social network, he envisions potential that leaves their limited aspirations behind. And when he is, later, uncertain of what to do with his project, which he labels The Facebook, he demonstrates an uncanny ability to connect with people whose ambitions can feed his ambitions. Whether or not Zuckerberg acts in fairness is an open question in the film; what we experience, as parents and moviegoers, is a young man so caught up in what he can achieve that he conveniently forgets where he came from.
Aaron Sorkin, the writer behind The West Wing on television, creates a brilliant suspense story out of events that freely exist in the public domain. Director David Fincher gives the film a visual style and pace that are perfectly in tune with Sorkin’s words. Sorkin and Fincher make us care, and wonder, far more than the actual events would demand. They create a world that is so rich in texture, and so complete with detail, that we feel we must be watching actual events unfold.
Jesse Eisenberg is superb as Zuckerberg, capturing every nuance of gesture and inflection that reach beyond caricature to create a thoughtful portrayal. That we never get to know him is precisely what the moviemakers intend. If he was too obvious, too clear in his intentions, the mystery would fall flat. But Eisenberg, with his blank eyes that hide everything, is the perfect rendition of unbridled selfishness.
The Social Network is an ideal film to share with your older children. It can give you the opportunity, once again, to express those values we hope our children will remember. Facebook may be a lot of fun but it is, as recent news events have revealed, a dangerous medium when used to express hatred and prejudice. With The Social Network, we see that the dark side of Facebook started long ago, when its founders also used the tool for hurt. See this film. Talk with your children. And, as we always do, hope they remember the conversation.
The Social Network
* Content: High. The film offers a fascinating glimpse of what might have happened in the minds and egos of college students who dared to create a new way for people to communicate.
* Entertainment: High. As full as the content may be, The Social Network never fails to entertain, thanks to a crackling screenplay by Aaron Sorkin and the dazzling visual approach of director David Fincher.
* Message: High. The carefully drawn characters show us — despite the brilliance of how they think — that people are only as successful as the values they bring to every situation.
* Relevance: High. The Social Network will give you plenty to think about, and talk about. And, in case you are one of the few who is not familiar with Facebook, it will bring you up to date on how millions connect every day.
* Opportunity for Dialogue: High. This is, actually, an essential film to share with your older children, and take the time to discuss what the story reveals and what should be remembered.
(The Social Network is rated PG-13 for suggestive content, drug and alcohol use and mild language. It runs 121 minutes.)
5 Popcorn Buckets
|< Prev||Next >|
The requested URL /components/com_soyd/tent.php was not found on this server.