Status Update: Facebook-Inspired Film ‘The Social Network’ Opens

BY Mike Melia  October 1, 2010 at 5:30 PM EDT

Last week, the NewsHour looked at “The Social Network”, a film — opening across the country on Friday — about Facebook and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg.


Much has been written about how true to life the film’s portrayal of the young billionaire really is. On “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” Zuckerberg had this to say:

The last six years have been a lot of coding and focus and hard work. But maybe it would be fun to remember it as partying and all this crazy drama. So, you know, who knows? Maybe it will be an interesting story.

On NPR’s Morning Edition, Kenneth Turan argued that whether it’s true does not impact the quality of the film. He said in his review:

How close is this to the truth? Who can say? This is a film, after all, not a legal document. All that really matters about ‘Social Network’ is that it be convincing in movie terms, and it very much is that.

A.O. Scott of The New York Times writes about the sad truth the movie conveys:

More than a few critics writing about ‘The Social Network’ have invoked ‘Citizen Kane,’ both to indicate their extravagant admiration of the film and to highlight some of its themes. Whatever the ultimate merits of the comparison, the brash young geniuses at the center of these two films share an unmistakably tragic dimension. Charles Foster Kane, the great newspaperman, ends up unable to communicate, much as Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of a great engine for sharing, schmoozing and keeping in touch, is defined by his failure to connect.

Aside from the film, the real life Zuckerberg made headlines last week when he announced on Oprah a $100 million donation to troubled public schools in Newark, N.J. The money comes in the form of a matching grant, where Newark will have to find another $100 million from other sources. Zuckerberg announced the gift alongside New Jersey’s Republican Gov. Chris Christie and Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a Democrat. Booker has said he has already secured $40 million. Christie said he would work closely with Booker in hiring a new superintendent and managing how the money will be spent.

Education Week reported on Friday that their plan has raised questions of the legal authority to act in such partnership. “The prospect that the mayor could wield decision-making power, however, has alarmed education law experts, who maintain that state law would prohibit such a power shift.”

Reporter, Catherine Gewertz goes on to write, “In addition, a 5-year-old governing state intervention in struggling school districts vests authority over those districts in the governor’s appointed state commissioner of education, not the governor or a mayor, say experts and current and former lawmakers.”