When was the last time a movie provoked a public figure into becoming, well, more public?

"The Social Network" has catalyzed more wide-ranging and ambitious coverage of Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg in the last eight months than he attracted in the previous five years -- and may well have prompted the booming billionaire to try to explain himself to everyone from The New Yorker to 60 Minutes.

Advertisement

What's extraordinary (and hilarious) about the long piece naming him Time's Person of the Year is that it's so upfront about being a puff-profile response to the portrait of Zuckerberg in "The Social Network."

That's doubly funny because people like the New York Times' Virginia Heffernan see the movie's portrayal of Zuckerberg as a piece of covert hero worship.

Actually, "The Social Network," starring Jesse Eisenberg (left) as Zuckerberg and Justin Timberlake (right) as Sean Parker, is more profound and entertaining than any biopic slanted pro or con. It does what "Citizen Kane" did for its day. It depicts how new media reflect and exploit the curiosity and the shallowness -- the strengths and the weaknesses -- of creators and users alike. For fans of ambitious, cutting-edge, popular movie art, it will be extremely satisfying if "Network" does what "Kane" couldn't -- and sweep the Academy Awards.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement