The Social Network Movie Review

The Social Network is an astonishing bio-epic about the birth and rearing of the revolutionary website Facebook. Though the accuracy of all events will be debated, there is no dispute that this is one of the best films of 2010.

The Social Network is bookmarked by 2 events involving the same girl. The first occurs when Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg in a career making performance), as a 2003 Harvard student, tries to connect with on-again off-again girlfriend Erica Albright (Rooney Mara). He is unsuccessful. The second occurs some years later when Zuckerberg, now the Billionaire CEO of Facebook, runs into Erica and again tries to reconnect. Again he is rebuffed. This is because Zuckerberg is still the arrogant, back-stabbing, socially inept jerk …. but with a lot more money. He still can’t get the girl.

The story of how the most antisocial nerd at Harvard created the world’s most popular social networking website begins with the prior dorm-room creation of another website. Fresh from being dumped by then girlfriend Erica, Zuckerberg retreats to his room and computer to exact revenge on all Harvard coeds. Grabbing online photos of Harvard sorority girls, he quickly creates a “who is hotter” website where the student body can login and vote on who they think is hotter between pairs of coeds. This tool of revenge becomes so popular that it crashes the campus network. His website also makes him a sort of campus hero.

This success gives Zuckerberg and his friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) the idea to build a website where Harvard students can meet online and do pretty much what they want to do. It becomes a smash hit, starts earning big dollars, and then begins earning massive dollars as it is unleashed to the world at large. In the end Zuckerberg is the CEO of the juggernaut Facebook, and has lost or is being sued by just about every friend and business partner he ever had.

A traditional telling of this story could have made for a very boring movie. It involves seemingly uninteresting topics such as computer programming, corporate business and general social nerdiness. But writer Aaron Sorkin (Malice, A Few Good Men) and director David Fincher (Se7en, The Game, Fight Club) decided to unveil the story in a non-linear way. The events are not told chronologically, but are framed as flashbacks that occur during legal depositions. The viewer discovers that Zuckerberg is being sued by just about everybody he has ever been friends with or worked with, and that his answers to their lawyer’s questions lead to these flashbacks about the inception of Facebook. As Zuckerberg attempts to defend his creation from these multiple attackers, what is revealed in those flashbacks lead to further questions from the lawyers, which in turn lead to more flashbacks to move the story. This may sound confusing to some, but because Fincher is such a skilled director he makes it very easy to follow as he jumps from deposition to deposition.

This technique helps make the movie move at a very quick pace and keeps the viewer’s attention. I myself was shocked when the movie ended because I didn’t realize how much time had gone by.

Now a few words about the acting:

Jesse Eisenberg perfectly portrays the pretty much unlikeable Mark Zuckerberg. He is in almost every scene, and you can’t take your eyes off him as he belittles and insults everyone around him. It is quite a jolt to see this dominating performance from the usually nice lovable nerd in films such as Holy Rollers and Solitary Man. Previously compared to actor Michael Cera, this role obliterates that comparison. This movie owes it’s soul to Eisenberg.

Andrew Garfield brilliantly plays Eduardo Saverin. the smart kid socially at ease in every situation, as the antithesis of the eccentric genius Zuckerberg. The transformation from Harvard friend to business partner to the climatic falling out to the very end when Saverin and Zuckerberg are talking through lawyers is very well done and believable. It is rumored that Andrew Garfield was offered the lead role in the new Spiderman movie after the director saw this role.

Justin Timberlake does a very good job portraying Napster inventor Sean Parker. Parker eventually partners with Zuckerberg and brings his adept business sense to Facebook to help bring it to the worldwide sensation that it is today. Watching Timberlake’s performance makes you temporarily forget that he is a musical superstar playing a role. He is a much better actor than many give him credit for.

The Social Network is fantastic and a “must see” if you are one of the 500 million users of Facebook. The network will be flooded with responses to this movie and you might want to be informed when making your own replies.

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