The Social Network: The Topsy-Turvy Adventures of Facebook

The Social Network is without a doubt, a fantastic movie.  While the creation of Facebook does have a great story, the actual movie is even better.  I had read a book called The Facebook Effect by David Kirkpatrick prior to watching the movie, so I knew the real story, unaltered by Hollywood.  Surprisingly, the movie was quite accurate in terms of the legitimate story of the upbringing of Facebook.  I was surprised by this because based on the various trailers and TV spots I had seen two years ago when the movie came out, it made it look like Mark Zuckerberg and his many “business” partners spent most of their time drunk and surrounded by girls.  Of course, that was nowhere near the actual movie.  The Social Network is actually a great movie, deserving all of it’s accolades and praise.

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I liked that the movie thought outside the box in the way that it presented the story.  One thing it did that I thought was very interesting was jumping between lawsuits with the Winklevoss twins (Fellow Harvard students who think that Mark stole their idea for a social network) and his ex-best friend Eduardo Saverin.  The Winklevoss twins were suing because they thought that Zuckerberg stole their idea for a social network and Saverin was suing because Zuckerberg lowered his equity in Facebook massively and raised Sean Parker’s, who did no where near as much work as Eduardo.  If a character says something to a lawyer, the movie might jump back to 2004 and show if the character is telling the whole truth.  It also might just delve deeper into the story or show further information and backstory.  Also, the movie doesn’t ignore the fact that the founders of Facebook had to do a lot of work to lead Facebook to where it is today.  Finally, while the movie isn’t super dramatic, it still manages to convey the emotions of all the actors to the point where you can almost feel their pain, or how ecstatic they are, whatever the case may be.  One moment that I thought was very interesting was when Eduardo stormed into the Facebook headquarters when he found out what Mark was doing to his ownership in the company and slammed his laptop on the table. 

In terms of the various more technical parts of the movies, (acting, cast, etc.) I believe that The Social Network is easily one of the best movies about technology around.  Video game movies are notoriously terrible and a lot of other movies just don’t capture the true feelings of the characters like The Social Network.  One example is the Super Mario Bros movie which is notorious for completely butchering the Mario franchise.  Rotten Tomatoes says that only 13% of the reviews for this movie were good.  Also, writing a movie about the upbringing of a simple website like Facebook is a challenge in itself.  I think the movie easily kept the attention of people like myself who really like computers, but it also kept people who aren’t as interested in computers and the Internet on the edge of their seats.  It was able to achieve this because while it showed a lot of the work involved in creating Facebook, but also showed a lot of fun events, which everybody likes.

Jesse Eisenberg is a real home run as Mark Zuckerberg because he plays him so well and is great at sarcasm and being smart and stupid at the same time.  Andrew Garfield as Eduardo Saverin is amazing as well.  Every time he is onscreen, you can see the pain in his eyes, as his best friend (Mark) himself slowly deteriorates his role in their company.  Finally, Justin Timberlake as Shawn Fanning (the founder of peer-to-peer music sharing service Napster) is immaculate.  Shawn Fanning is the current advisor of Facebook during it’s start-up and although Timberlake and Fanning don’t look very similar like a lot of the other characters, you can tell that this role was not a joke to Timberlake.  Shawn Fanning in real life is known for not being the most serious character in the music/technology business.  This is certainly conveyed through various events in the movie that make Fanning seem almost like a stupid little kid doing adult things and making adult business deals.  For example, the first scene with him is him waking up in bed with a Stanford student who he doesn’t even know the name of.  Also, in another scene with him and Jesse/Mark in a club, Jesse is sitting on one side of the table alone.  Justin is sitting on the other side surrounded by 2 girls, one of which is a Victoria’s Secret model.  This is a moment as he tells Jesse that and the story of the business of Victoria’s Secret  when Jesse says, “She looks familiar.”

Overall, I really liked The Social Network.  Even though it might seem like a cult classic or a really niche movie at first, I think that it would appeal to a lot of people, no matter what interests.

Finally, I definitely think that this a great movie and that it deserves all of it’s accolades and critical response.  In fact, The Social Network was even ranked 1st in over a dozen well-known magazines and newspapers Top 10 Films of 2010 lists.


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