Movie Reviews

Film Review: “The Social Network”

(Columbia Pictures.  2 hours.  Rated PG-13 for sexual content, drug and alcohol use and language.  Directed by David Fincher.)  Jesse Eisenberg (Mark Zuckerberg), Justin Timberlake (Sean Parker), Andrew Garfield (Eduardo Saverin), Joseph Mazzello (Dustin Moskovitz), Armie Hammer (Vinklevoss twins), Rashida Jones (Marylin Delpy), Rooney Mara (Erica Albright).  Music by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

“You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies,” goes the tagline to what is already one of my top 5 movies of the year.  No, it’s not called The Facebook Movie but it is the real-life story (well, stories) of how the now-dominant social networking site was created.  In 2003, genius Harvard undergrad Mark Zuckerberg hits upon an idea to link the profiles of female students together.  What began as little more than a prank becomes, over the course of a few years, a revolution in communication.  The main story is told in flashback, while we also see Zuckerberg as he’s being deposed in two lawsuits after Facebook has become a phenomenon and he a billionaire.  He has to face the people he’s left behind on the way up (several of whom are suing him).

Whip-smart screenplay by Aaron Sorkin is entertaining as well as instructive; not only about Facebook’s creation, but in showing Zuckerberg’s arc as he turns from socially-awkward outsider to the man everyone wants to know (his business card reads, “I’m CEO, Bitch”).  Impressive cast is led by Jesse Eisenberg’s brilliant portrayal of a far-from-sympathetic Zuckerberg; he captures our attention from the very first scene (Zuckerberg’s shown in a campus bar with his girlfriend Erica; seems simple enough, until he starts talking).  Timberlake seems to have finally found his role as Napster co-founder Parker (an early Facebook investor), and Garfield (the new Spider-Man) is along for the crazy ride as Zuckerberg’s best friend Eduardo.  Fincher (Se7en) keeps things moving, with the occasional directorial flourish (example:  fellow Harvard students and future Zuckerberg enemies the Winklevoss twins are seamlessly played by one actor).  Excellent from start to finish.  (P.S.  The real Zuckerberg, even now only 26, just gave $100 million to the Newark, NJ public school system.  He denies it’s a public-relations ploy to make himself look better than he does in this movie.)

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