Our way of living has been defined by many key creations in history. Thomas Edison invented the lightbulb. Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. Mark Zuckerberg invented Facebook. One may find it strange that Zuckerberg would be included on a list of great inventors, but think about this for a moment. Before Facebook, to write on somebody's wall meant to take a pen and draw on some one's house. "I have to pick my strawberries" was something only a farmer would say. Making friends involved going out to social events and speaking with people in the flesh. Now, with the click of a mouse you can connect with hundreds of "friends", like their status, play bejeweled, and spend a good chunk of your day "creeping" on people's profiles. Our every day lives and even our language have been updated, and it is because of Mark Zuckerberg, organizer of the biggest social gathering in human history.
The Social Network revolves around the birth of Facebook back at Harvard University in 2003. Jesse Eisenberg (Zombieland, Adventureland) plays Zuckerberg, a socially inept genius with one friend in roommate Eduardo Savarin (Andrew Garfield). After being dumped by his girlfriend in the first scene, Zuckerberg takes to the internet to create a website as way to get some revenge. No it's not Facebook yet, but the website he creates becomes so popular in just four hours, it manages to crash Harvard Univesity's server. Impressed, twin brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (Armie Hammer in both roles) commission Zuckerberg to help create a website they have been thinking of. A social networking site. Zuckerberg agrees, but rather than help them, he designs his own website with the help of Savarin, and thus Facebook is born. But the journey to fame is no easy walk, and Zuckerberg's life becomes filled with controversy.
The Social Network just might be a perfect movie. Writer Aaron Sorkin will more than likely earn an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay (the book being "The Accidental Billionaires" by Ben Mezrich). Expertly crafted, Sorkin brings the audience a witty, intelligent, cocky, quick, and sharp film, a perfect parallel to the main character Zuckerberg. Along with this, Sorkin manages to take a rather uninteresting plot and shape it into an intense two hour heart pounder that you will not want to see end. This film is driven heavily by dialogue, yet it moves with the pace of a summer blockbuster, due in part to the astute direction from David Fincher.
Jesse Eisenberg is flawless as the flawed Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg. Never hitting a wrong note, Eisenberg captures Zuckerberg's awkward, work driven, condescending demeanor in every frame. It should not surprise anyone to find Eisenberg's name in discussions for Best Actor come Oscar season. But the real surprise coming from The Social Network is the supporting performance from practically unknown Andrew Garfield as Zuckerberg's only friend Eduardo. Garfield is outstanding as the modest, business-headed CFO of Facebook. Eduardo's story is tragic, and Garfield's performance draws out heaps of sympathy from the audience. A Best Supporting Actor nomination could be on the horizon for this young actor, and it would be well deserved. It's also worthy to note that Justin Timberlake gives a very strong performance as Napster creator Sean Parker, who infiltrates his way into Facebook and turns Zuckerberg against his friend Eduardo.
But the part of The Social Network that audiences will find to be the most stimulating is analyzing the character of Mark Zuckerberg. This is a man not driven by money or fame. He does bad things, but is not inherently a bad person. At one moment he will commend his friend Eduardo and in the next breath he will demean him, both sentences being in the same tone of voice. His motivations are never explained, because it is more than likely Zuckerberg himself does not understand them. Are his actions later in the film defined by Parker interfering in his life? Is Zuckerberg legitimately a bad person? If money and fame do not motivate him to perfect Facebook, then what exactly does? These are all difficult questions, and you will have fun finding the answers.
It should be noted that although most of the basic events that take place in this film are real, the circumstances surrounding them have been greatly exaggerated and falsified. The writers of the book and film respectively took creative license in order to make a more entertaining story, which is what the business is all about. However, this does not take away from the impact of the film at all. The Social Network will stand as a defining film of our generation for years to come. My guess is, you will "like" The Social Network. My rating (10/10).