Every age has its visionaries who leave, in the wake of their genius, a changed world – but rarely without a battle over exactly what happened and who was there at the moment of creation.
In Columbia Pictures’ The Social Network, director David Fincher and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin explore the moment at which Facebook, the most revolutionary social phenomenon of the new century, was invented — through the warring perspectives of the super-smart young men who each claimed to be there at its inception.
One drunken night in October of 2003, having just broken up with his girlfriend, Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg hacks into the university’s computers to create a site that forms a database of all the women on campus, then lines up two pictures next to each other and asks the user to choose which is “hotter.” He calls the site Facemash, and it instantly goes viral, crashing the entire Harvard system and generating campus-wide controversy over the site’s purported misogyny, and charges that Mark, in creating Facemash, intentionally breached security, violated copyrights and violated individual privacy.
Yet in that moment, the underlying framework for Facebook is born. Shortly after, Mark launches thefacebook.com, which will spread like wildfire from one screen to the next across Harvard, through the Ivy League to Silicon Valley, and then literally to the entire world.
But in the chaos of creation comes passionate conflict — about how it all went down, and who deserves recognition for what is clearly developing into one of the century’s signal ideas –conflict that will divide friends and spur legal action.
To forge a palpable sense of that fog of creation, of history still being written, Sorkin and Fincher collaborated on a carefully constructed, non-aligned storytelling style that intentionally does not choose sides. Instead, the film presents a consortium of equally tricky narrators – each of whom believes he is in the right and that his particular memories are the truth of the matter – while leaving the larger questions of what really happened entirely open for the audience.
Ultimately, Sorkin’s screenplay defies the notion that there can be a single truth and he fully intends for this to provoke debate. Sums up the screenwriter: “I’ll be delighted if people have arguments in the theatre parking lot over it. With The Social Network, we took a set of facts, and we made a truth. In fact, more specifically, we made three truths. If you think of the facts that aren’t in dispute as dots that you have to connect, we connected those dots and we made a picture. But in between those dots are a) character, and b) the fact that you get to decide what the truth is. We don’t tell you ‘this is the only truth there is,’ we posit a handful of truths in pursuit of a larger true thing: the conditions that made all this possible.”
Opening soon across the Philippines, The Social Network is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.