Make a movie about the biggest internet social phenomenon that directly relates to over 500 million people worldwide? Seems like a no-brainer. David Fincher picked up the idea and ran off into cyberspace.
Praised director of films such as “Fight Club,” “Zodiac” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” Fincher’s latest film “The Social Network” opens this Friday.
The film focuses on the life of Mark Zuckerberg, a 26-year-old billionaire who made his fortune founding Facebook while attending Harvard University.
Featuring a choral cover of Radiohead’s “Creep,” “The Social Network” previews garnered a lot of attention this past summer, most likely because of their negative portrayal of Zuckerberg.
After being faced with numerous lawsuits regarding privacy and ownership issues and stepping on more than a few toes, Zuckerberg couldn’t escape Hollywood for long.
“The previews got me more interested than any movie poster could; it makes it seem scandalous and people love scandal,” junior Claire Suellentrop said about the film. Suellentrop is just one of many students who plan on seeing the film in theaters.
Regardless of validity, critics like Peter Travers from Rolling Stone and David Denby of the New Yorker are attesting that Fincher’s film is one heck of a story.
Even if you have no interest in the controversy, there’s always Justin Timberlake.
“I’ll probably go to see it,” Anthony Fratanduono said. “Justin Timberlake’s in it and he’s a pretty good actor.”
Timberlake plays Sean Parker, a co-founder of Napster and the first president of Facebook, who was eventually pulled from the position after he was convicted with cocaine possession.
Besides Timberlake and Fincher’s pull, “The Social Network” seems to be investing its efforts in controversy and good old fashioned movie making.
“I’m going to see it because it’s getting really high reviews on the pre-release,” sophomore Jeff Monteiro said. “It has a ten out of ten score on Rotten Tomatoes, plus its David Fincher. I mean it applies to pretty much everyone.”
By “everyone,” Monteiro probably refers to the 500 million users on Facebook. If this is too big of a number to grasp, consider Dr. Leslie Bunnage’s sociology class here at Seton Hall.
The class of 71 students took a poll on their social network habits and whether or not they planned on seeing the film. 40 students said they plan to see the film and also have a Facebook account. 27 other students have a Facebook account but do not intend to view the film, leaving only four students in a class of 71 without a Facebook account.
Not surprisingly, 86% of students said that Facebook is the social networking device they use most often, with twitter coming in a not-so-close second place.
“Everyday lives are just so documented,” Assistant Professor of Sociology, Dr. Leslie Bunnage said. “Life becomes real as you post, you live your life for the way it’s going to unfold on Facebook. The reality is that it’s a huge part of student’s lives. The most responsible and wise response is to recognize it and take it into consideration as teachers.”
Bunnage said she also sees the appeal in the film.
“To be honest, it looked really slick, dramatized, it looked like the real story is somewhat interesting and the movie version would be intriguing,” she said.
The success of the “The Social Network” may have less to do with the praises of Denby and Travers and even the Zuckerberg controversy, and more with the successful marketing to the viral generation, the millions of young adults who have come of age in the Facebook world.
“At first I thought I wasn’t going to see it, then I saw the trailer and was curious,” junior Katelyn Kwiatkowski said.
“You never completely disconnect from people in your past life with Facebook,” Bunnage said. “You never really leave high school.” (Or college, in Zuckerberg’s case.)
“The Social Network” shows that society has taken Facebook beyond the actual networking outlet and into their everyday lives. Facebook has become a way of life, one that millions are projected to fund this Friday when “The Social Network” hits theatres.
Meghan Dixon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.