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If you like The Social Network, fine. I don’t, at all, but fine. It does nothing for me—partly due to the fact that it’s so intensely fabricated, and partly because I find it aesthetically unappealing. But it’s not the kinda movie where if you like it, I need to pick an argument with you. Or the kind of movie I even feel compelled to write a review of—especially now, three years after it came out. Even people who liked it haven’t thought about it in years, and wouldn’t write about it now. It’s just kind of a forgettable movie.
However, there is one tiny aspect of it that has endured in my mind all this time and that I seriously think about here and there, and that is its absolute radio silence on any and all of the possible philsophical or metaphysical ramifications of Facebook. It’s actually kind of appalling and unnerving. Watching The Social Network is like watching a movie about the development of the atomic bomb and Hiroshima and Nagasaki not being mentioned whatsoever. Facebook has hugely changed the way we communicate, and the way we think about those around us, and the way we think about ourselves. It’s a seismic fucking thing. But you watch this movie and it might as well be about a guy who created any ol’ doohickey. The whole film is a giant sleight of hand, distracting audiences from the elephant in the room which has taken over us all for better or for worse.
Luckily, there’s a film out there which does explore these aspects of Facebook, if only allegorically, and most likely, unintentionally. That film is Charlie Kaufman’s magnum opus, Synecdoche, New York.
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