When I saw the early blurbs about this movie, I was thinking it would be either a big yawn or a lot of youth culture that would make me feel really old. But The Social Network is neither of those things. It is a really involving, well-made drama based on the story of the creation of Facebook (or as it was originally called, The Facebook.)
Jesse Eisenberg plays Mark Zuckerberg a young, brilliant, socially inept (to the point of total jerkdom) Harvard student who can code anything in two seconds and early in the film hacks into the Harvard database to connect all the houses in a contest to vote on the hottest girls on campus. In just a few hours he gets 22,000 hits, crashes the network, pisses off a lot of girls and becomes an instant celebrity. This notoriety causes a trio of upperclassmen to approach him about coding a Harvard social network. And this is where he first wades into dangerous water.
With his best friend Eduardo (Andrew Garfield) as his bankroll and CFO, Zuckerberg simultaneously invents Facebook while stringing the other guys along. And, as we all know, Facebook takes off spectacularly. It takes over Harvard and then he moves on to one college after another. The Social Network is told in flashbacks between scenes of two lawsuits that Zuckerberg is fighting. One is against the upperclassmen who claim that Facebook was their idea and the other against his friend and CFO Eduardo who gets pushed aside once the company is really making money.
The other key player in the drama is Sean Parker effectively played by Justin Timberlake. Sean co-founded Napster and when he first sees the Facebook site, he smells a hit and quickly insinuates himself into Zuckerberg’s good graces. He is instrumental in pushing Eduardo out and bringing in some venture capitalists.
Throughout the film, Zuckerberg remains focused on one thing and one thing only — Facebook. He rarely smiles or seems to have fun. He is the ultimate computer geek, a fabulously wealthy one, but doesn’t really change from that first night at Harvard when he started the girl-ranking site. The real Zuckerberg claims that the film is total fiction. If it is, it is an incredibly well done fabrication in that it deals with betrayal, corruption, intellectual property theft and one of this decade’s most popular web sites in a compelling drama. I’d recommend it for every grown up and also the computer geeks of tomorrow; they might get a preview of the pitfalls they may face.
And now I am going to go and check my Facebook page for updates.