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The Social Network’s Treatment of Women, Winterbottom’s Kercher Murder Mystery to Star Firth

The Social Network's Treatment of Women, Winterbottom's Kercher Murder Mystery to Star Firth

-It’s no surprise that David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin’s The Social Network is getting Oscar-buzz, zeitgeist hype and debates about what is fact and fiction. Now the role of women in the film is kicking up controversy. The Daily Beast‘s Rebecca Davis O’Brien argues that the femme roles are props in a film that “not only reflects its era, but will shape it.” Stephen Colbert declares that there are no women of substance in the movie except for the small roles of lawyer Rashida Jones and Zuckerberg’s scorning girlfriend Rooney Mara. The women in the movie are seen as liabilities, writes Jezebel, if not woefully disrespected.

“Complaining about misogyny in modern blockbuster cinema,” writes O’Brien, “is about as productive as lamenting Facebook’s grip on our society.” But she wishes the “defining” story for our generation wasn’t such a blatant slap in the face to women. “From the girls trucked into the Phoenix Club in the film’s opening scenes to the groupies giggling about their inability to play videogames, it seemed that the film set girls up as some joke on the state of womankind. Maybe the joke was on me?”

This debate has spread all over Facebook and Twitter. Mara does make a mark as a smart, strong woman, even with a tiny amount of screen time. But Jones’ role seems designed to reflect some humanity back on Jesse Eisenberg’s Zuckerberg. While the movie is centered on the men who created Facebook, we can expect more from Sorkin in depicting women characters than we get here.

UPDATE: Aaron Sorkin addresses The Social Network‘s treatment of women.

– “Usually puzzles in films are fake, but this is one without a solution,” says prolific Brit director Michael Winterbottom (The Killer Inside Me, A Mighty Heart) to The Guardian. He’s referring to the complicated Meredith Kercher murder in Italy, for which the accused Amanda Knox already has a Lifetime movie in the works (which is threatened by Knox’s also accused boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito). But Winterbottom, who attended a trial hearing in Perugia on Friday, wants to tell the story from the perspective of a journalis—to be played by Colin Firth—investigating the facts and mysteries of what really happened. The film would be a fictional dramatization, says Winterbottom, that will likely not have someone playing Knox at all: “I have no view on whether they did it, the film will not be about that.” The drama, he believes, is in the extreme points of view and side-taking: “There was no explanation that covered everything, and the journalists were drawn in, in a way you would not expect.”

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