Movie Review: The Social Network (2010)

Posted: April 7, 2012 in Drama
Tags: , ,

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Mark Zuckerberg  (Jessie Eisenberg) is a computer programmer having a hard time fitting in with the exclusive, crony, culture at Harvard.  He doesn’t have money, has few friends, but desperately wants to be prt of a final club, or row crew, but he doesn’t have the patience for it.   Moreover, his tenuous relationship with his girlfriend, Erica (Rooney Mara)) is breaking beyond repair.  Zuckerberg uses the breakup and the ostracism from the final clubs to fuel his real talent, being a computer hacker. He first creates Fascemash, a comparison of college yearbook pictures comparing two girls at a time and asking which is hotter.  This idea catches the attention of the Winkelvoss twins (Armie Hammer) who have an idea for a social network for Harvard.

Zuckerberg blows off the Winkelvoss twins and starts his own social network site, the Facebook.  The site becomes wildly popular at Harvard, and with the meager financial help of one of his few friends, Eduardo Savarin (Andrew Garfield) Zuckerberg expands the site to other collages including BC, the college Erica is attending.  As the site becomes more popular, the Winklevoss’ plan a lawsuit, Eduardo gets himself a girlfriend, named Christy ( Brenda Song) and Zuckerberg gets himself a partner Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) Parker was once famous for creating Napster, the music downloading site.  Parker has ideas to move the site to Palo Alto, and lines up a bunch of financial contributors to get the site to a million subscribers.  Eduardo is trying to get financial backing in New York but not doing as well as Parker.  What does Parker’s success do to Mark and Eduardo’s partnership?  Is Sean Parker’s hard partying lifestyle good for Facebook?

This is a very good film. Zuckerberg makes for an interesting character study.  I wouldn’t say he’s portrayed in a bad light.  He did what he had to do to force himself into the social structure of Harvard, and he did it with a positive product.  Maybe I can relate to being an outsider looking in, and so Zuckerberg seemed more sympathetic to me. As far as being ruthless, he had to be ruthless to make his product stand out, other than one decision he made, I would have done the same things he did.  If you think Bill Gates wasn’t ruthless, he’d sue anyone that tried to create a browser to compete with explorer, so much for the myth of lovable Bill Gates.  When someone attains a level of success the likes of Zuckerberg, people become bitter very quickly, and I see the bitterness of others more clearly than I do the negative aspects of Zuckerberg.  The acting is top rate, Eisenberg plays Zuckerberg as an aloof, obsessive, disinterested sort.  He’s obsessed with making a name for himself and obsessive about tinkering with facebook, he’s disinterested in the money and lawsuits that follow.  Andrew Garfield plays easily the most sympathetic character in the movie and plays him well.  He’s sort of the hero of the piece, the guy with the business acumen, trying to protect Zuckerberg.  Justin Timberlake’s performance grated on me, the longer he was onscreen the more he annoyed me.  The women in this movie did not come off well, Romney Mara is in essence playing an ice princess, and Brenda Song is playing a psycho.  The other women are little more than groupies.

The Social Network.  It works.

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