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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Movie Reviews > The Social Network

MOVIE REVIEWS

THE SOCIAL NETWORK (2010)

Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Armie Hammer, Max Minghella, Josh Pence, Brenda Song, Rashida Jones, Rooney Mara and Aaron Sorkin.

Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin.

Directed by David Fincher.

Distributed by Sony Pictures.  121 minutes.  Rated PG-13.

 

Everyday Beautiful

The Social Network

There are very few things in the world that I can think of that would seem less cinematic than the creation of Facebook.  It seems like it would be a bunch of geeks doing computer script and bong hits in a college dorm somewhere.

So it’s a bit of a shock that The Social Network is by far one of the best films released so far this year.

This is due, mostly, to a spectacular script by Aaron Sorkin (A Few Good Men, The West Wing).  It is Sorkin’s best work in years and one of the most literate scripts to see the light of day in years. 

The Social Network is cultured and stunningly sharp and surprisingly complex – much like its main character. 

Mark Zuckerberg – at least according to the film – is brilliant as a computer innovator and programmer, but completely inept socially.  He is also so determined to do things his way only that he will screw over friends and business partners with little compunction if they cross him. 

We meet Zuckerberg (played extremely well by Jesse Eisenberg) as he is on a date with a girl he has been dating for a little while (Rooney Mara, who was just tapped as the lead of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.)  Their conversation is uncomfortable as he passive/aggressively jousts verbally with the girl, each sentence a pointed dagger of contempt and accusation. 

Eventually after putting up with it for a little while, she walks out on him, calling him an asshole. 

Therefore he clambers across campus, gets drunk and blogs about what a bitch she is and how she stuffs her bra – essentially proving her point. 

And truth is: he is an asshole.  A brilliant one, perhaps, but an asshole.

Also, in fairness, I am talking about the movie Zuckerberg.  I’ve never met the real guy and have no idea how accurate the film is to his personality.

I’d guess that it is not completely off the mark though, since this is based on Ben Mezrich's book The Accidental Billionaires about the founding of Facebook. 

However, without ever getting boring (or even going over the audience’s heads), Sorkin’s screenplay is able to show how the man is a bit of a savant in figuring out what the people want in a website – whether it is an early rate-the-girl’s-hotness site for which Zuckerberg hacks into school accounts for female Harvard students’ photos or the social hookup sight that made him a billionaire. 

He does step on people on the way up.  His best friend Eduardo Saverin (played by Andrew Garfield, the next Spider-Man) funded the whole thing and is thrown to the curb, apparently partially as a long-time grudge that Eduardo was more popular than Zuckerberg and was invited into a Harvard social club that Zuckerberg couldn't crack. 

He also expands on the ideas of a couple of Harvard trust-fund-baby winners named Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (both played by Armie Hammer) who came up with the basic idea that Zuckerberg is able to expand into a multi-billion dollar enterprise.  Are the Winklevosses responsible for the site?  Probably not, but they did deserve some credit for the initial inspiration.

The film shifts back and forth between the founding and growth of Facebook and the breach of contract trials with both of the above parties suing for their piece of the pie.

In the meantime, Zuckerberg hooks up with Sean Parker – who as the creator of Napster and Plaxo is both Zuckerberg’s inspiration and should be a cautionary tale.  As played by pop star Justin Timberlake (though, in fairness, Timberlake has spent more time in recent years acting than singing), Parker is a charming but shallow genius who is equal parts technical genius and con man.

The movie is filmed with surprisingly little fussiness by the notoriously perfectionist director David Fincher (Se7en, Zodiac, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button). 

The movie, much like the man it is about, is achingly smart and incredibly savvy about what the people want.  Unlike its inspiration, though, it is fine company.

Occasionally movies are just too smart to get a big following.  I hope that is not the case for The Social Network, because this film deserves to be seen widely. 

In the parlance of Facebook, just click on the little “Like” button for The Social Network.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2010 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: October 1, 2010.

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Copyright ©2010  PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: October 1, 2010.

 

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