Unless you have simply had something against the internet for the past 6 of 7 years, you know what Facebook is. You also know what MySpace and many other social networking sites are and for. Want to find a long-lost relative, let everyone know your phone number has changed, publicize the end of a relationship, brag about the start of a new one or just keep in touch with a friend who lives across the country? Facebook has served as an easy way of doing all of this. Even more so than the traditional and now too common way of basically picking up the telephone. Constantly adding friends, changing relationship statuses, and letting other Facebook members what you might be doing this weekend are just some of the basic features that can be utilized. The Social Network, directed by David Finchers, gives an inside look at the creation of the site. It is based on the novel written by Ben Mezrich titled The Accidental Billionaires published in 2009 which tells the story of the founding of Facebook.
The plot revolves around now CEO/Co-founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg). After his girlfriend breaks up with him, the then Harvard undergraduate retreats to his dorm room to blog about his heart-ache in a most unflattering portrayal of how his now ex is seen in his eyes. Furthermore, he goes on to create a website that allows his fellow Harvard attendees to rate random girls that they go to school with. Upon hearing of the success of this spontaneous project, students Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (Armie Hammer) along with Divya Narendra (Max Minghella) approach him with the idea of developing a Harvard only social networking site called Harvard Connection later renamed to ConnectU. The purpose of this network would be to enable students to keep in touch with each other at their own leisure with the ease of the internet. Initially accepting the offer of developing the site for them, Zuckerberg went to work writing the initial code and getting the basics of the site situated.
The plot thickens and grows very hairy when he fails to report any of his progress to his “partners”. Instead he creates his own name for the site and enters into another partnership with his friend and dorm roommate, Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) who provided the upfront capital needed to get the site up and running. After “thefacebook” is subsequently launched, it is all the buzz throughout the Harvard University campus. No doubt this angers the kept in the dark team of the Winklevoss’ and Narendra. They seek to take legal action against Zuckerberg and the story is then fully off and running.
The Social Network predominantly poses Zuckerberg in a negative light, which some of his real life Facebook team has said that that isn’t totally correct. The film does portray him as the smart-ass who jumped on an opportunity and used his vast knowledge of programming to make himself a billionaire. Whether this is true or not, many of us will probably never know. But the entertainment factor of the Kevin Spacey produced film is in full effect. Mixed in with the possibly fictional parts about partying, drinking and sex having is a real life alliance with Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake), the creator of Napster, and many disagreements between the two main co-founders, Zuckerberg and Saverin.
The film is shot along two timelines mixed in with each other: the development/creation of Facebook and the first two separate lawsuits that Zuckerberg faced. One with the identical twins, the Winklevoss’ and Narendra and another one with his former best friend, Saverin. Each suing him for royalties owed to them for their part in the formation of the network. The timelines synch perfectly with each other telling the story and then revisiting each major point during the trials.
Jesse Eisenberg pulled off a great job of playing a college student who is well aware of the power of his intellect and hardly ever shows any emotion on his way to becoming financial stable for the rest of his life. Regardless of whether or not Zuckerberg’s personality is actually shown truthfully, his character in the film fits in with the story perfectly. Unknown to many, Armie Hammer did a pretty impressive job playing identical twins. The camera effects showing two of him in the same scene were flawless. It simply looked like they casted actual identical twins to play the parts.
On top of being filled with drama, jokes (mostly sarcastic) and sex, the film is quite inspiring. About half way through, you might find yourself trying to contemplate an idea to invent so you yourself can become a billionaire as well. Apparently my movie partner for the evening felt the same way because she actually leaned over and told me to add “invent something” to my daily to-do list. Sadly, I am still trying to come up with something that doesn’t totally suck. Even if I did, I wouldn’t tell any of you. Wouldn’t want to file any unnecessary lawsuits against my dedicated readers.
A must see for all ages, genders and various genre lovers, this film is well done. I myself refuse to conform and have sworn not to rejoin the world of Facebook and stay away from the likes of Twitter as well. Not knocking them, I just pride myself on being different. For those of you who have never tried it, you can add yourself to its steady growing number of members which recently reached 500 million members in July of this year. I give The Social Network “4.5 steady changing relationship statuses out of 5”.
“You’re going to be successful, and rich. But you’re going to go through life thinking that girls don’t like you because you’re a geek. And I want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, that that won’t be true. It’ll be because you’re an asshole.”