This year marked the first time I’ve watched the Golden Globes. I have heard that the previous year, Ricky Gervais was highly entertaining as host and that alcohol flawed freely. This year, Gervais was set to be back as host and the bottles of alcohol had doubled – or so I have heard.
Gervais promised to take comedic aim at anyone weak enough to take it without punching back or suing him. He delivered on that promise, but was he as funny as I had hoped? Well, not really. I’m sorry to have to say that…I really like Mr. Ricky Gervais. He can host my Oscar party anytime, we’ll just have to keep the poking fun to people who CAN punch him back this time…it’s all for entertainment’s sake right? Sacrifices need be made.
Which brings us to a film about sacrifice that I wanted to see win: The Black Swan. A unique film that has something to say and observe. Natalie Portman, as expected, won for “Best Actress”, but The Social Network took home the most coveted award, “Best Picture”.
The King’s Speech was another strong contender in that category. Colin Firth, most deservingly, won “Best Actor”. But no Best Picture.
I will admit, I had high expectations for The Social Network. It felt like everyone I knew was singing that film’s praises. The word ‘brilliant’ was tossed around like it was a virus, spreading to everyone’s tongues and Facebook status’. No one even needed 140 characters to sing the film’s praises. It became widely referred to as “the Facebook movie”. So much so that most people were unaware that it was actually called The Social Network. So when I finally arrived at the movie theatre and purchased my ticket, I was prepared for the film to make me a believer.
But that’s not exactly how it went down.
I concede that The Social Network is a good movie. I enjoyed it. I don’t regret buying my ticket. But is it brilliant? I don’t think it is. And most likely, it will win “Best Picture” at the upcoming Academy Awards. But why did audiences and critics embrace it so much? Is everyone just jumping on some bandwagon?
I tried to analyze this. My conclusion is that what appeals to audiences and critics alike is how relevant and current the film is. We’ve all morphed into the world of social media and limited human interactions. The film is also stylistically well-directed and written — David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin make math formula, hacking, and coding seem exciting. Thrilling, even. The acting is solid too. That’s all admirable. But where I feel the film missed greatness is in the idea of the “social network” itself. How fascinating is this idea that we live in a world where friends are reduced to profiles, interactions are a matter of commenting on status updates, and we live our lives in such public ways where we share everything from out dating status to our breakfast, to our political thoughts and emotional worries with a mass group of near-strangers. To me, there lies the depth of a film addressing the social network. None of it is easy to address on film — but if the filmmakers could, perhaps they would create a film that was lasting in its resonence. The meal, instead of the appetizer, if you will.
I hate rating films, but if I were to rate The Social Network, I would give it 3/4, maybe a quarter of a star more. But that, in my book, makes a film good – not brilliant. A brilliant film should clean up at the Golden Globes (and looming Oscars), not merely a good one.
Do you disagree/agree with me? Tell me why (leave a comment).
I have a feeling I won’t be very popular after posting this. And who knows, maybe in a few years I will disagree with myself. But for now…