The Social Network? Like!
With Facebook’s explosive popularity over the past few years, it seemed almost inevitable that the entertainment industry would capitalize on it. The movie The Social Network follows the story of college-student Mark Zuckerburg and his brilliant ascendancy to the youngest billionaire in the world. From exciting frat parties to heated depositions with billions of dollars on the line, the film paints a well-rounded portrait of the genius’s turbulent college years.
The opening scene is a quick-witted dialogue between Mark Zuckerburg (Jesse Eisenberg) and his girlfriend, a perfect demonstration of how wildly smart and socially stunted he is. They break up and Mark, drunk and annoyed, creates a rate-her-hotness website for Harvard girls overnight with the help of his friend Eduardo Saverin (Arthur Garfield) and roommate Dustin Moskovitz (Joseph Mazzello). The site is outrageously popular and, as one might imagine, shut down in a matter of hours. However, it leads the big-men-on-campus to ‘discover’ Mark and enlist his help to create “the Harvard connection,” a site with exclusive student profiles and bios. After Tyler Winklevoss, Cameron Winklevoss (Armie Hammer plays them both – they’re twins), and Divya Narendra (Max Minghella) pitch the idea to Mark, he disappears into cyberspace for a couple of weeks. When he remerges, Mark Zuckerburg has created a restricted social networking site, made possible by an investment from Eduardo.
That’s when the battle begins: whose brainchild was Facebook? The movie cuts back and forth between the present-day legal battle and the events leading to that point. Loyal Eduardo seems to be a victim of bad luck from the start, while Mark finds himself swept up in the manipulative charm of entrepreneur Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake). Even by the end of the film, I wasn’t sure who I wanted to side with.
The Social Network definitely exceeded my expectations. The characters were not cookie-cutter college students – all of them were complex, especially Mark himself. As much as I wanted to dislike him for being callous, I pitied him for his utter inability to express himself and championed him for his strength in never letting money or greed motivate him. The plot dragged a little bit in some places, but by and large I found myself equally interested in the legal scuffles, the rise of Facebook, and the characters’ personal stories.
The acting was really, really good. I can count on one hand the number of times Eisenberg smiled, which completely worked for his character. It was great to see Justin Timberlake on the big screen with the effortless poise he brought to Sean Parker. Even the antagonists, the Winklevoss twins, were the typical love-to-hate-them characters. At the end, text on the screen tells the audience “what happened” to all the main characters in real life – like, for example, how much money they’re currently worth. Casting was also very clever, as most of the actors look similar to the people their roles are based on.
Although this was a serious (I might even say sad) film on the whole, there were plenty of cute one-liners. The jokes come very unexpectedly in such a dramatic series of events, and part of what makes them so funny is the straight-faced deliveries.
As a warning, the movie is probably not appropriate for preteens or younger – not only because of some mature content, but the subject matter might be over their heads. It moves pretty quickly, and the switches between the depositions and flashbacks get confusing.
The movie is doing quite well in the box office, netting 22 million dollars in its opening weekend and receiving praise from a number of critics. I found the film to be exceptionally well-done, and encourage any teenager or adult to go see it.