I hadn’t known what to expect from this film, other than it was – supposedly – excellent. Strangely, I hadn’t heard anyone give specific details as to why they liked it, just that they did, in fact, like it. In spades. I knew that the story was told in a non-linear style, swinging back-and-forth between the present time of the depositions and the past, when the whole thing was initiated.
When the film began, dropping you into a rapid two-person dialogue scene, I immediately liked it. It reminded me of my favorite episodes of Gilmore Girls, where you, as the audience member, hang onto every word in a conversation to keep up. That dialogue is well written, too, not just quick-paced. There are many scenes like this and I enjoyed every one of them.
What I thought was curious, though, is that, considering that the film’s premise is the creation of Facebook, there’s actually very little about Facebook as its own entity in it; what it does specifically, the intricacies of how it works, why they chose to make it this way or that, the color scheme, the fonts, the purpose or creation of various applications and so on. You do hear snippets in their conversation about developing ideas for what we now know to be integral parts of the site (relationship status, photos, etc.), but, as they make it quite clear, the film isn’t really about the site itself, whether it’s good or bad or stupid or brilliant. It’s a secondary figure next to the people. I was impressed by this because I thought, going in, that with a subject like the behemoth that is Facebook, it would be a go-to for scenes, that the logo would be over-used or that too many scenes would involve too much discussion or praise over it. Not hardly.
Furthermore, in humanizing the characters, the film manages to find exactly the right balance between drawing sympathy from us and showing the evils and flaws in them all. That’s a tough tight-rope to walk, but in this they were successful, I thought. I’m not sure how much was biographically accurate vs. what was fabricated via creative license, and, truthfully? I don’t think I want to know. The film works, from start to finish. Looking back at it as a whole, it’s clear that the beginning, middle and end are perfectly entwined and expertly presented. I don’t know if the film defines a generation or not, but I will say that it was entertaining as well as smart and sophisticated storytelling.