We saw the Facebook movie (The Social Network) a while back and found it to be surprisingly good. Jesse Eisenberg does a fantastic job as Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook’s founder) and Justin Timberlake is decent as the semi-sleazy Napster developer.
What really surprised me was that Zuckerberg started Facebook as revenge against the girlfriend who dropped him. He’s seen as vindictive in the movie, but Eisenberg makes the character somehow sympathetic. I liked Eisenberg in Juno, but this character is much more complex.
Zuckerberg is exasperating, fiendishly smart and funny. The ultimate irony is that he has no social life whatsoever. His girlfriend dumps him at the beginning of the movie and he has only one friend. I don’t watch Oprah, so missed the Zuckerberg interview, but heard he now lives alone in a rented house in California.
Zuckerberg is one of the youngest, if not the youngest billionaire alive. But he never seems interested in money in the film. In fact, his best friend is more interested in making cash off the enterprise. I couldn’t help thinking about Citizen Kane while I watched the movie. All that money and still miserable.
I also thought about a story I read in a newspaper years ago. The writer had suffered from depression for years until she tried Prozac. The antidepressant changed her life dramatically. For the better. She decided to search for one of the inventors of Prozac so she could personally thank him for saving her life. She found one of the team, but was dismayed to learn that he was indifferent to the personal aspects of the drug. For him, it had been a really challenging puzzle and one he wanted to win. The writer left feeling deflated, and almost sorry she’d come to see him.
I wonder how Zuckerberg feels when people thank him for designing this social network that connects them to their friends and relatives so easily. I imagine he looks as uncomfortable as the Prozac inventor. Unable to fully enjoy what he created.