This month, 10 years ago, one of the most powerful, relevant and well-made films of the last 20 years was released. Not a mega-scale, blockbuster action movie or an 18th century period piece, but an excellently written, tightly-paced drama. Directed with precision by David Fincher, with a flawless script by Aaron Sorkin, “The Social Network” was released on Oct. 1, 2010, and has gained nothing but praise and acclaim since that day.
It was widely considered to be the favorite for Best Picture going into the 83rd Academy Awards, only to lose out to “The King’s Speech.” However, it was nominated for eight awards, taking home three wins, for Best Original Score, Best Editing and Best Adapted Screenplay. The film has aged well over the past 10 years, somehow becoming even more relevant than it was at its release. I even consider it the best film of the 2010s. Why do I think this? Well…
- It has a (expectedly) killer script.
Aaron Sorkin has been writing in Hollywood for a long time. He’s written some of the most acclaimed television shows of all time, like “The West Wing” and “The Newsroom,” while also crafting a legacy writing feature films. He has received three total Oscar nominations with one win for “The Social Network.” It’s fitting that his one win is for “The Social Network” because it is, without a doubt, his crowning achievement. Each character is effortlessly well realized with so many great one-liners and tense confrontations. Jesse Eisenberg’s Mark Zuckerberg is consistently frustrating throughout the duration of the film. He speaks softly, but always finds a way to undermine the other person in order to make himself the superior. It’s a perfect blend of strong writing, acting and direction that fill out the character, making him who he is. The script is also hilarious. I could honestly quote some of its best moments all day, but I’ll let you watch the movie first to enjoy them yourself.
- The cast has excellent chemistry.
For a film where almost every main character is pitted against one another by the end of it, every member of the cast bounces off of each other shockingly well. It feels more natural than it does scripted, but every relationship feels fleshed out before the characters are even on screen. Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield, who plays Eduardo Saverin, have excellent interplay that not only establishes where they are as people when the film begins but also several nuggets of information that contribute to their separation. Justin Timberlake(!?) is also really great as Sean Parker, founder of the company Napster, who takes Zuckerberg under his wing and creates the central conflict of the film. He acts and plays the role so well that the viewer isn’t sure whether to trust him or not. He has an innate charm that reels the audience into what he’s saying, even if they don’t really agree with him. It’s exactly what the role needed to be as he sinks his talons into Zuckerberg. Once this type of love triangle is established, the film has no brakes in making you switch allegiances from character to character.
- It’s still relevant today!
When the film came out, the consensus was that it might’ve been too soon for a Facebook movie. The production of the movie felt like capitalization on its popularity, rather than having a story to tell. But, when the film turned out better than anyone anticipated, it has been referenced as a piece of why social media networks can be a little shady. One of the first sequences in the film features Zuckerberg creating the first “Facebook,” at the time being a head-to-head competition on the looks of Harvard girls. Zuckerberg hacks into the Harvard servers, stealing all of the images and information he needs, somehow foreshadowing the Facebook data mining scandal in the second half of the 2010s. The film is a reminder of the shadier sides of the social media business that we don’t see when we sign up with just our email.
“The Social Network” is a masterpiece of filmmaking from every angle. I haven’t even mentioned the outstanding opening scene, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ knockout score or Armie Hammer’s brilliant double performance. There’s so much good about this film that it needs to be seen on the regular.
I just rewatched it recently, and it still hits as hard as it did the first time that I saw it. If you haven’t seen “The Social Network,” add it to your watchlist on Netflix and view it as soon as you can!