After being so transfixed by Steve Jobs, necessity mandated I added another Aaron Sorkin penned movie to my must watch list. To my immense happiness, The Social Network, which also revolves around the creation of something that has forever changed mankind, is as equally fascinating.
But whereas Steve Jobs proved compelling by letting me witness the man in his natural surroundings, and ended with a note of uplift, The Social Network threw me into a world where deceit and hypocrisy lurked around every corner, ending on a much, much sadder image.
There’s a scene near the end of Steve Jobs in which his lifelong friend tells him that human nature is not binary. One can still be a genius while retaining common decency. True words, it seems, until you meet Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg). Undoubtedly smart and quick to turn a phrase, he is also an envious jerk who seems to care little about money, as the only thing he desires is somebody else’s appreciation. But since he wants to be appreciated for his smarts and witticisms, this sets him into a vicious cycle he could only break free from if he realized there is no shame in saying sorry, nor anything wrong with sincere humbleness.
The symptoms of the two main characters in these films may differ, but the disease remains the same: they seem to lack what in vulgar terms would be deemed empathy.
The tragedy of their stories lies in how ironic it all becomes at the end. Between these two men, communication between humanity will never be the same. They have brought millions of people together, allowed friendships to bloom and encouraged discussions that can and have made for a more stimulating place to be. The friendless creators watch as their creation is the friendliest on earth.
But the films are as much about these world famous figures as they are about us, give and take a couple billion dollars. You don’t have to necessarily wear flip flops or a turtle neck every day to see yourself reflected in the image of a man not knowing what to do with his daughter; to wince with pain as you see a restless young man in front of a computer screen, aching for a girl to tell him all the value he holds.