Wednesday 13 October 2010


When 'The Social Network' ended, I was genuinely shocked. "How can it end now?" I wondered, "it's only halfway through!" I normally have a pretty reliable movie-body-clock. That wasn't the case with this movie. The reason being, I was so completely engrossed in the flow of the movie that I lost all sense of time, real-wise and movie-wise. I was swept away in the magic of what was in front of me. This is rare. Really really really rare. It's why I go to the movies and why I watch so many DVD's-- yet this experience of total immersion is very unusual. I can't remember the last time it happened.

For the purpose of this article I will be giving all of the credit to Aaron Sorkin. This is probably not fair-- as I'm sure David Fincher played a giant role in it too-- as did the actors. But for me, this was always about Aaron Sorkin. I love his work. This kind of adulation usually leads to disappointment. There are very few people I'd rush to the cinema for. There's Cameron Crowe, Woody Allen, and---um, Aaron Sorkin. That's about it. I'm not sure why I still do it for Woody Allen, and last time I did it for Sorkin, with Charlie Wilson's War, I was very disappointed (great script, but I didn't love the movie).

But this movie really had it. Every single scene, every bit of dialogue --- it just burned with life and energy. The Sorkin touch was plain to see. He always starts a scene where you don't expect it to start, in a location you don't expect to see, from a perspective you never thought to look through before, and it's always about three different things, just like Erica Albright mentioned in the opening scene, telling Mark Zuckerberg how he always talks about three things at once. That's exactly what Sorkin does, and it's magic.

The film was like a rollercoaster. Actually, not even a rollercoaster-- it was like a really fast car. This is exactly the type of movie I like. If I had my way, every movie would zip along at 2000 miles an hour with razor sharp dialogue. Strange that I feel that, and that it's my preference, because there have hardly been any films in the history of cinema that have truly honored that energy. But 'The Social Network' did, and that is down to Aaron Sorkin's script.

Frustratingly, some of the dialogue that was hilarious in the screenplay didn't translate quite as well on screen. It seems that even a master like David Fincher can't totally do justice to Sorkin's genius. Maybe only Tommy Schlamme can. I'd love to see Aaron Sorkin directing, himself; because I think the hilarity of his wit and humor would really shine, if he was at the helm.

This isn't a review. I don't know what this is. I just know that I was completely engrossed in the movie. That only stopped once, when I desperately needed to pee -- I literally sprinted to make sure I missed as little of the film as possible. I haven't cared that much about a movie in the long time.

This film really reminded me of how incredible motion pictures can be -- and how great we can be as screenwriters if we really try. The energy, the innovativity (or something that's a real word), the structure, the humor; it was all PERFECT.

Aaron Sorkin is the best writer in the industry. I say this with complete confidence.

Care to share?


  1. & what about the portrayal of women? Social network hasn't reached NZ yet, but some of the criticism has-- wd be v interested to hear your thoughts.

  2. Here's Sorkin himself, responding to a comment on the women on Ken Levine's blog.

    It really didn't bother me. There are some female characters who don't come across well, but the film is based on true events... There are some excellent female characters. Particularly Erica Allbright, Mark's ex girlfriend.

  3. Wellywood Woman - you raise an interesting question. And the link from Jess certainly is fascinating -- in part for Aaron's response, but even more so for the crazy debate it started.

    I have various thoughts popping into my head right now, but I'm going to hold back-- I'm going to go see the movie a few more times, and I think maybe this is something we should discuss in more depth after you've seen it in NZ.

  4. I done a review of this film:

    And I had no issue whatsoever with the representation of women in the film. Sure there's a lot of vapid groupies and crazy girlfriends, but they are bookended with Erica and Rashida Jones' characters who are both smart, compassionate and intelligent, and both tell Mark straight and give him and us some perspective.

    It's worth noting that there is really only one vaguely respectable male character in the film, too. Everyone else is pompous, selfish, manipulative, elitist, sexist pricks.

  5. I think it's tempting in a movie where no one is really likable to focus on why women didn't come across as likable - I don't think this movie is about people we like but rather about people we are fascinated with, people who are absolutely fallible and human.

    Sorkin and Fincher at their best.

  6. It is an incredible movie - and I think that it could have been awful but with the irght people behind it, it was incredible. Like others, we covered it on our latest podcast ourselves - and Sorking was clearly a driving force behind it.


  7. Hmmm. Thanks to all of you for these comments. Have just been sent this link which I found interesting:

    Only another couple of weeks til The Social network opens here in NZ. Then I'll be in touch again!

  8. Wellywood - I am open to all ideas, genuinely, and I think the film and it's portrayal of women is an important thing, that should be discussed; as it has been here, and more widely, across other websites; but that article is quite erratic, and brings in issues that have absolutely nothing to do with 'The Social Network.'

    I think the way ahead, when talking about gender issues; is to really include everybody, men need to be in the discussion too, that's the only way we'll grow and evolve; together; but the article by Eisenstein is accusatory and inflammatory, I think - and with all of the writer's incredible experience, it's a shame that she would write in such a manner. I can't imagine it will achieve anything. Not anything positive, anyway.

  9. I have such a crush on Sorkin after reading Social Network, what a talent. I went to a school with similar culture, it all read true. Different portrayal of women would have required different people in a different story, or a much longer story. To get some of the many kick-ass women at Harvard and Facebook and in programming (shout out original code chick Ada Lovelace) included, would have been as long as a Cameron flick, and without the Titanic or blue folk, who's sitting through it. TheUnwashedMass raises a fine point, the men in Social Network weren't so impressive either. That Sorkin created such a riveting tale from transcripts and real life blows my mind. That's some story telling.