Since I saw the picture this weekend, I thought I’d add some thought’s to Charli’s excellent post below. I should say at the outset that although I’ve been an Aaron Sorkin detractor since before critics still thought Studio 60 was a work of genius, I should say at the outset that The Social Network was…an excellent movie. I could cop out and give all the credit to Fincher, an outstanding if very uneven talent, but the script was in fact very strong. The story emphasizes Sorkin’s talents while minimizing his weaknesses — he was born to write the instant classic Larry Summers sequence, and plenty of scenes within this absorbing, well-paced film are almost as good.
On the issue at hand, I think it’s worth distinguishing between two critiques. There were some nagging weaknesses — in addition to Charli’s links, see Tracy Clark-Flory — related to the movie and its portrayal of women. In particular (whether they actually happened or not) the final club party out of a Katy Perry song and the “groupies” at the Bill Gates lecture feel like fratboyish Ben Mezrich embellishments, and the movie would have been better off without them.
On the other hand, to echo Dana Stevens it’s very important to not pin the misogyny of the characters on the filmmakers. Starting but by no means ending with Erica Albright’s much-quoted kissoff, Sorkin and Fincher take a clearly critical stance towards Zuckerberg’s contempt for women. To what extent the portrayal of Zuckerberg is accurate I have no idea (and given that this is a fiction film I don’t think it matters), but the implicit critique the film provides of it is actually one if its strengths.
…via the comments, Aaron Sorkin himself responds to criticisms, and again I don’t think he’s rationalizing. The portrayal of misogynist characters in The Social Network is no more a celebration of misogyny than Mad Men is a celebration of sexual harassment, glass ceilings, workplace alcoholism, etc.
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