The Social Network

Director: David Fincher

Notable Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake

Rating: PG-13

Review: Yes, The Social Network came out in October, but sadly some movies slip through the cracks when you’re trying to run a blog and take 18 credits in a semester. Letting this movie slip through though was a crucial mistake. We all use Facebook, but for most of us it’s just a site we know some crazy lucky bastard named Mark Zuckerberg created and sold for, I believe this is the technical term, an ASSLOAD of cash.  The Social Network tells the “real” story though and outlines the drama that unfolded between Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, the Winklevoss twins, and Sean Parker.  It also shows Mark Zuckerberg for the man he “really” is, a tremendously pretentious and egotistical douche.  Now, the real Mark Zuckerberg was outraged for the way Aaron Sorkin wrote his character, but Sorkin swears nothing in the movie was fabricated…just dramatized.  Sorkin says he created the character based on numerous testimonies from the actual people the characters are based on.  One man’s word against another, but that’s a moot point given The Social Network was enthralling non the less.  Watching the deception, betrayal, and cunning genius it took to create the site that has become a way of life for my generation was extremely interesting.  The film came out at the exact right time, just as Zuckerberg’s name was becoming more and more household.  The only question left is, who are we left to believe in the Sorkin vs. Zuckerberg battle?

We all at least know Facebook was created by Harvard computer programmer Mark Zuckerberg (Eisenberg).  (If you don’t watch the news or even know what Facebook is though, stop reading now because spoilers WILL follow.)  After his girlfriend Erica (Rooney Mara) dumps him one night, Mark and his friend Eduardo (Garfield) decide to put together a site on the Harvard network called Facesmash, where students are given two pictures of female students and they have to pick which of the girls is “hotter.”  The site was so successful it crashed the Harvard network in a matter of hours.  Of course Harvard is able to pinpoint Mark as the cause for the crash, and serves him with 6 months academic probation for his disrespectful site and hacking of the Harvard network.  Little did Mark know that Facesmash would be one of the things leading to the biggest website of all time.  Two brothers named Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (Armie Hammer/Josh Pence) and their business associate Divya Narendra (Max Minghella) approach Mark with a Harvard dating site they’ve been wanting to create, but want Mark’s computer skills after the whole Facesmash stunt.  Mark agrees, but with no intentions of helping.  Instead, he turns to Eduardo and a team of his friends to develop his own site, called thefacebook.  Much more involved than the Winklevoss’s dating site, Zuckerberg wanted a massive site that was like a social club you could invite only those you wanted to.  It was like an online Final Club (Harvard’s name for Frats/Sororities) fueled by the sexual undertones of college.  But then, everything goes wrong.  Zuckerberg is playing with fire, and learns what it’s like to get burned.  Eduardo starts being invited to the Final Club that Mark so desperately wanted into, and Mark’s jealousy becomes prevalent to the point Eduardo thinks it’s the reason Mark starts making decisions without him.  Eventually, the Winklevoss gang presses charges even though Zuckerberg created all the code for thefacebook and copied none of theirs, Zuckerberg befriends Napster creator Sean Parker and he convinces him to cut out his best friend Eduardo who also presses charges, and Parker ends up being a liability in the end after Zuckerberg invested so much admiration in him. We all know Zuckerberg retained ownership, but this movie shows how the process was anything but easy.

Sandals…at least there aren’t socks too…

The hardest part for me is wanting to believe either Zuckerberg was this horrible of a person or Sorkin really did embellish everything.  Because that wouldn’t be the only thing Sorkin fudged in his screenplay.  A major part of The Social Network was how Mark apparently never got over Erica and still loved her years after the creation of Facebook. It’s referenced numerous times, and Erica shows up multiple other times in the film.  In reality, Mark met Priscilla Chan his sophomore year at Harvard (aka the year he developed thefacebook) and is still together with her today.  Of course Sorkin decided to exclude it so Mark could use it for reasoning to have a miserable attitude, but as we find out it’s a falsification.  If Sorkin did it once, we have to question what else did Sorkin include or exclude to bolster the drama.  It doesn’t hinder the film, but for me becomes a distraction as credibility is thrown around.

Besides that, the rest of the film was above and beyond where it had to be.  Jesse Eisenberg evolved from “that kid from Adventureland” and Michael Cera wannabe to having his own presence.  He speaks so fast but has full annunciation and range of speech not many actors can pull off now a days.  The way Eisenberg can pull it off so nonchalantly is scary, but it gives his characters a unique substance not easily mimicked.  Aside from the physical similarities, Eisenberg was an obvious choice for Sorkin’s Zuckerberg because he could give the audience a Zuckerberg to pretty much hate.  Eisenberg’s dead blank stare coincided with Zuckerberg’s blind egotism and his quick talking accompanied the underlying sarcastic jealousy Zuckerberg displayed throughout.  This was the role Eisenberg needed to propel his status from “that guy” to bona fide talent.  Justin Timberlake and Andrew Garfield both give excellent performances as the two other biggest players in the company, but only one can get nominated for a best supporting actor.  Word is that Timberlake is lobbying for the nomination that will indefinitely go to Garfield, but I can’t agree with the thinking.  Timberlake was charming, funny, and entertaining, but nothing he did was that influential where he deserves to be honored.  If Garfield gets it, it won’t be a shock, but if Timberlake squeaks in, he doesn’t really have much of a shot of winning.

The Social Network was a pretty little piece of history that chronicled the development of the biggest website to date, allegedly.  Ask any college kid if their college experience would be the same without Facebook.  Those kids also make up the largest audience for the film.  Sorkin’s screenplay is tailored to my generation, and it succeeds immensely by keeping Zuckerberg’s girlfriend out of it, by making Sean Parker the cool edgy hero of Zuckerberg, and by making Zuckerberg himself the ultimate repulsive protagonist.  It’s obvious, just hate the guy who was named one of the youngest people to make the Forbes list. Whether it’s true or false, The Social Network makes for a compelling story.  Plus, it gets a genius score by Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) that mixes rock and techno together, giving it that modern feel.  Finally, a historical drama my generation can actually enjoy watching.

Final Rating: 9 “Likes” out of 10

I’d dress like that if I was a gazillionaire too….


About Matt Donato

I love all things film. I'll watch any genre, any actor, at any time. This whole film critic thing is a passionate hobby for now which I'm balancing with working in the business world, but hey, someday, who knows?
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1 Response to The Social Network

  1. Pingback: 2010: Recap of the Good, the Bad, and Everything Else | Cinema Scrutiny

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