The Social Network provides a glimpse of what might or what might not have happened during the legendary ascent of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s journey during the creation of the now ubiquitous website. While Zuckerberg has referred to the film as “fiction” the movie appears to provide a lot of historical facts and lets the viewer decide for himself. In fact, it seems that a cynical observer could claim that Zuckerberg’s $100 million donation to the Newark, New Jersey school system could have been an attempt to protect his image which is cast in a somewhat negative light by the harsh lens of The Social Network.
The film starts off at Harvard where Zuckerberg (played by famous actor Jesse Eisenberg) seems unable to avoid causing scandals, particularly when he creates a site called facemash.com where his fellow undergraduate coeds are compared face-to-face and rated on their physical attractiveness. It is during the first half of the film that the moviegoer gains an appreciation for Zuckerberg’s technical prowess with computer languages such as Perl.
This film is a delight for computer programmers who will find that it offers just enough computer geekiness by mentioning technical processes such as wget scripts and a Python contest whereby an intern is selected during a heavy drinking contest.
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One of the main themes in the film is Zuckerberg’s alienation of friends who seem to lose out after befriending him. One such loss of friendship is experienced by the Winklevoss twins (both played by studly actor Armie Hammer) who originally try to team up with Zuckerberg during the creation of what they term The Harvard Connection, a site meant to be exclusive.
The film implies that Zuckerberg steals the idea for the Harvard Connection and uses it to create “The Facebook”.
The apparent theft of the intellectual property of the idea behind Facebook isn’t the only unsympathetic portrayal of Zuckerberg who also manages to defame his Boston University girlfriend in an online blog and later backstabs friend Eduardo Saverin by negating most of his equity in the online venture.
However, while Zuckerberg’s reputation takes a few hits, you can also see that his heart isn’t in betraying friends but rather is focused toward creating a technical masterpiece and concentrating on his computer rather than interpersonal relationships. The film does give the impression that Mark is a technical genius.
The film completes the journey that was started as a Harvard graduate as Zuckerberg moves his team out to Palo Alto to alternate between coding and partying. There, Facebook teams up with Sean Parker (played by pop icon Justin Timberlake). Timberlake provides a powerful performance as a talented actor who provides a lot of the creative fuel for the website.
But Timberlake is not the only talented actor in the film as all of the acting is superb. The Social Network did an excellent job of casting the crew which do somewhat resemble the actual characters that they portray. Eisenberg deserves kudos for his portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg which seems to capture some of his social awkwardness.
Another plus for the movie is the use of beautiful scenery, particularly at Harvard University where we see Eisenberg frequently running around the campus.
The film wraps up in Palo Alto and the ending is a bit of a turn-off as it concentrates on yet another scandal. In order to not spoil the film, we won’t be going into any more details.
Overall, the film is definitely worth a view. So if you are looking for an entertaining and engrossing film, definitely give The Social Network a try.