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I saw two fine movies this weekend, The Social Network and The King’s Speech. These films have much in common: wonderfully written, directed, and filmed; outstanding acting performances; not much action, but plenty of gripping relational tension. Both movies are based on history, though The Social Network is more of a freely fictional retelling of reality, while The King’s Speech works hard to be historically accurate. Both of these movies are about friendship, or the lack thereof.
The Social Network depicts a morally empty world in which friendship is sorely lacking. “Friends” are something one has in abundance through Facebook, but not in real life. I will not spoil the ending of the film, but will say that it offers a profoundly ironic picture of a life without true friendship.
The King’s Speech portrays the development of a most unlikely friendship between a king and a commoner. It testifies to the potential of commitment, faithfulness, and compassion. I left the movie thankful for my friends and wanting to be a better friend to them.
I highly recommend both movies, though with a word of caution. The Social Network offers a powerful picture of an amoral world of self-absorption and hedonism. It does not glorify that world, however. Nevertheless, The Social Network will leave you saddened, perhaps even feeling emotionally empty. On the contrary, The King’s Speech, depicts historical events that will encourage you to overcome life’s obstacles through forging true friendship. So, if you’re looking for trenchant social commentary, see The Social Network. If you want to be inspired to be a better person, watch The King’s Speech.