Status update: Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg, at 26 years old, is the youngest billionaire ever and worth around $6 billion. Zuckerberg created “The Facebook” as an undergrad in his Harvard dorm room with a little help from his two computer programming roommates and a business plan and financial support from his other roommate, Brazilian Eduardo Saverin. Saverin, along with the memorable, suave, Harvard rowing crewmembers the Winklevoss twins (or the Winklevi, as Zuckerberg refers to them in the movie) file separate lawsuits against Zuckerberg.
The Social Network answers the how and why with a creative background to the creation of Facebook with a genius script from screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and phenomenal acting to bring to life the birth of this popular social network. The Social Network presents the new technology of Facebook, which drives our everyday lives and has helped to create a more narcissistic society, thriving on the number of Facebook friends we have.
The film immediately grabs you as Mark (Jesse Eisenberg) sits at a campus bar with his girlfriend and Boston University student Erica Albright (Rooney Mara) rambling about different topics, while obsessing over his desire to be chosen for one of Harvard’s elite “final clubs.” After repeated attempts to interject thoughts on the conversation and subsequent unspoken denials by Mark’s continued verbosity, Erica gets fed up, breaks off the relationship and storms out of the bar.
Mark returns to his dorm joined by roommates Dustin Moskovitz (Joseph Mazzello) and Chris Huges (Patrick Mapel) to blog out his frustration, ultimately hacking into photo files of female Harvard undergrads and ranking them on a hotness scale.
Boom: a social network is born.
The film evolves from the basic beginnings of Facebook to the two pending lawsuits and court depositions facing Mark. The plot thickens as Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (both played by Armie Hammer), approach Mark to help them develop a Harvard computer-dating service they want to call “The Harvard Connection,” based off of Zuckerberg’s hotness scale. Despite being in frequent e-mail contact and meeting with the Winklevoss twins and their business partner Divya Narendra (Max Minghella), Mark churns away their offer in order to develop his own site, which he eventually coins “The Facebook.”
However, the bigger story in The Social Network is Mark’s relationship with Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield). Saverin, Mark’s best friend, provides the early finances to help get the site off the ground, while advising Mark on the best business plan to get this social network recognized. The chink in the relationship emerges with the introduction of Napster co-founder Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake), who wants to help Mark take Facebook to the next level, even if it means leaving Eduardo behind and creating a new business plan for the site.
Parker has charm, wealth and a belief in Facebook. He orchestrates a dinner meeting with Mark, Eduardo and Eduardo’s girlfriend at the time and captivates Mark. “A million dollars isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? A billion dollars.”
Mark is hooked.
On the advice of Parker, Mark hires two interns from Harvard to move out to Silicon Valley for the summer with him and continue to develop Facebook. Meanwhile, Saverin is slaving away in New York City attempting to garner advertisement agreements to add to the site and bring in more revenue. Not to mention, the relationship between Saverin and Mark has long been deteriorating after Saverin was accepted by the Phoenix final club, aspirations Mark had for himself at the beginning of the movie.
What follows is Mark’s further mesmerization of Parker and the subsequent betrayal of Saverin as a friend and business partner, while Facebook explodes into an Internet sensation.
Eisenberg and Garfield deliver phenomenal performances based on vulnerability, audacity, wit and ingenuity for their two characters. Eisenberg unearths and conveys Mark’s feelings of alienation and loneliness, which fuels his ambition. Garfield, meanwhile, may deliver the best performance of the movie with his collected and phlegmatic demeanor toward Mark after the betrayal.
The result of The Social Network is a defining movie, which reveals the evolution of the Facebook website and its ability to reshape who we are within society. I give The Social Network 4 out of 5 stars.