Is 'The Social Network,' the new film about the creation of Facebook, the kind of movie that defines a generation?
It's already being talked about that way. Though Cinematical gives reasons why not, as scripted by 'West Wing' creator Aaron Sorkin and directed by 'Fight Club's' David Fincher, 'The Social Network' does seem to grasp the social revolution still being wrought by the Internet -- the sense of being connected and alone at the same time, the voluntary relinquishing of any sphere of personal privacy, the ability to sculpt and mold a constantly evolving public identity and the notion of cyberspace as a cool college party that everyone wants to attend.
But while the movie seems to understand those concepts, it's not really about them. It's more about the specific group of individuals present at the birth of a transformative idea, and how they fought to take credit for (and reap the profits from) that idea. It's not clear whether the Facebook generation, 500 million strong, will actually identify with this select group of backbiting Harvard elitists, or whether there's anything unique to this generation about this seemingly universal story of friendship, loyalty, class, inspiration, money, betrayal and sex.
To create a generation-defining movie, it helps to have broadly representative characters. Read the list that follows of 10 movies that defined their generations, and see if you think 'The Social Network' deserves a post on that wall.