My spirits were lifted when The Social Network won four Golden Globes two nights ago, including Best Drama and Best Director (not to mention an award for Trent Reznor who pieced together its stunningly dark electronic soundtrack). So great: a brilliant movie actually wins some awards instead of being snubbed in favour of a “uplifting”, “heart-warming” true story (for evidence, see Sandra Bullock winning an Oscar last year for a role that was nowhere near as good as Gabby Sidibe or even Carey Mulligan).
But instead of labelling The Social Network for what it is, it’s burdened time and time again with the same alternative title: The Facebook Movie.
Let’s get one thing straight here: The Social Network is about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, and yes, it does have some relevance as the film progresses. But it’s not “The Facebook Movie”. Far from it in fact. If Fincher had made The Facebook Movie then it would not have been as impressive and captivating as what we saw in cinemas a few months ago. Facebook is a coincidental product of what this film is really about: relationships or more specifically, the inability of semi-sociopathic Zuckerberg (who is more than ably played by Jesse Eisenberg: if he doesn’t get an Oscar nomination then the world has gone mad). This is about the rise and fall of a great partnership between him and his sometime best friend Eduardo, whom he completely betrays. So, tell me in what part of all that does the workings of Facebook really come into play.
For a couple of days there has been reference to The Facebook Movie: most of this is by people who maybe haven’t even seen the film, and don’t have a clue what this movie is really trying to do. But some of it is from sites that you’d think would have a little more understanding rather than just degrading themselves by referring to The Social Network in this way. Take the NME, for example. They claim to have an array of competent movie columnists yet in their news article on the Golden Globe winners they also fell into the trap of branding it “The Facebook Movie”. Why? I’m not sure. The only explanation is that it’s been referred to by so poor a title for so long that people seem to have forgotten what the film was about in the first place, which is infuriating.
Even referring to the movie as “David Fincher’s biopic of Mark Zuckerberg” would be more acceptable: at least this captures the soul of the film as brought out by Fincher’s directorial style and its real subject, Zuckerberg’s life from Harvard to billionaire. It’s less misleading too: no doubt anyone who went to see The Social Network under the pretence that it was solely centred around Facebook and its workings would have been sorely disappointed by what they saw (but to be honest, anyone going to see a Fincher movie and expecting to watch something so blatantly obvious has a few screws loose).
So what next? Black Swan being called “The Ballet Movie”? I hope not. Although, for the BAFTAs it doesn’t really matter, since they’ll all go to The King’s Speech anyway. Hmm, unless we name it “The Stammer Movie”….
This article is appearing in FreedomSpark Online