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The Social Network Movie Review

the social network movieWhen I saw the first preview for the movie The Social Network, I was one of the ones groaning. Seriously? A movie about Facebook? When I saw that it was being directed by David Fincher I was suddenly a lot more interested. I’ve always been a big fan of Fincher’s work, from Fight Club on. I got invited to attend a free screening of the movie and I am very, very glad I went. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a movie this fast-paced and entertaining that didn’t feature a bunch of explosions and gunplay.

This is a movie for fans of Facebook, fans of good screenplays, fans of good acting, good directing, good stories, and more. It’s also a movie for people who can’t stand Mark Zuckerberg and hate Facebook. He is made almost completely unlikable in the movie by Jesse Eisenberg, who continues to impress me with his acting. If you saw him in Zombieland you know that he was impossible not to like. But he made me squirm just about every time he opened his mouth in The Social Network. That seemed like the point, and the reason I couldn’t really root against him, either. His actions didn’t seem entirely under his control, as if he was just wired to be oblivious to anything but his own reality and impulses of the moment.

I know relatively little about Facebook’s CEO outside of this movie so I can’t count on the accuracy of the film’s portrayal. But if it is at all faithful to the reality of the man, we probably wouldn’t be pals, which I’m sure would not bother him in the slightest. Maybe. In the movie he craves attention and status above all else. He doesn’t seem to care about the money and he would rather be working on a laptop than celebrating at a party when his creation finally hits the one million members mark. But everything he does seems to drive people away from him, not towards.

What if you don’t know anything about Facebook?

Rest assured, they were able to make a movie about Facebook that will be just as fascinating to people who have never used the social networking site. My parents couldn’t be dragged onto FB for any reason, but I know they’ll love the movie. Mainly because I can’t figure out who wouldn’t enjoy the movie. It is that good. The dialogue is a blast to listen to, the music by Trent Reznor is perfectly suited to the mood, and as I mentioned, the pacing is as breakneck as a non-thriller can be.

Plot

If you don’t know the story, it centers on Mark Zuckerberg and the creation of Facebook. The social network behemoth was created, according to the movie, as a retaliatory act after Zuck was spurned by the girl he was dating. He went back to his dorm, got drunk, and built a site that night that would allow people to rank the attractiveness of women. The web traffic that night is serious enough to crash Harvard’s network.

Unsurprisingly, the stunt raises the ire of the campus females, which is bad news for the status-obsessed Zuckerberg and his friend, Eduardo Severin, who was the co-founder of FB. Much of the movies’ tension results from Zuckerberg’s treatment of his best and only friend. Severin fronts the money for the startup, then contributes more later. He is eventually written almost entirely out of the Facebook empire, thanks to the character played by Justin Timberlake, the manipulative-in-the-movie founder of Napster, someone else I know almost nothing about in real life.

I liked Eduardo’s character a lot. The actor was wonderful and the worse things got for him due to Zuck’s insensitivity/selfishness/ambition/social-disorder?…Zuckerber thinks nothing of constantly asking Severin for more money, then berating him when he suggests that they might want to monetize the site.

Structure

The backstory is interspersed with scenes of the depositions in which Zuckerberg was being sued in two separate lawsuits involving intellectual property theft. I won’t spoil exactly who is sitting in those meetings with the accused, but they were all wonderful parts of the movie.

I have so much more to say about the movie, but I’m going to give it some time and think about it. If I had a ratings system I would give it the highest rating possible. Since I don’t, I’ll just repeat that I loved it and could recommend it to anyone.

Anyone seen it yet? Thoughts?

Josh

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Frankie October 1, 2010, 6:41 pm

    Wasn’t Aaron Sorkin involved, as well?

  • Sheri Bell-Rehwoldt October 1, 2010, 6:49 pm

    Amen to that!!!

    Great seeing you and your bride, Josh. Let’s get together and dish SEO!

    Sheri

  • Keith Edwards October 1, 2010, 10:46 pm

    I really wasn’t expecting this to be a good movie (mainly because of justin timberlake’s involvement), but I was seriously FLOORED by how well it was written, shot, and acted (even by JT).

    Great movie and I’m recommending it to all of my friends!

    Keith

  • Laurie October 2, 2010, 7:31 am

    I think the WSL needs a quantitative ratings system. If you aren’t sure what to do, you could hold another one of your reader contests (extra points for graphics).

    Some proposals, going on the “strongest” part of the WSL theme (e.g., “this book/movie/etc. gets 4.5 _____ out of 5 _____.”)
    1. deadlifts
    2. kettlebells
    3. barbells
    4. kilos
    5. plates
    6. librarians with a locked-out kettlebell (best as a graphic…)
    7. PRs

    Apologies for the tragically one-dimensional offerings.

    Exciting to see you moving up in the world such that you are getting to go to free movie screenings.

  • Kim B October 2, 2010, 10:16 am

    Haven’t seen the movie yet…I too was one of those groaning at the thought of a movie about Facebook (and I caught a glimpse of Justing Timberlake). Until I heard bits and pieces of the soundtrack…and I found out that David Fincher and Trent Reznor worked together on it, and heard a couple interviews about their involvement.

    I’m still a little wary of it, just because I’m sure the theater will be filled with ‘tweens who respond with “OMFG…LOLZ” but I can’t overlook the fact that, if David Fincher and Trent Reznor agreed to work on the project, it can’t be complete rubbish.

    Thanks for the review!

    • Keith October 2, 2010, 2:21 pm

      Kim, it’s seriously SO GOOD. Like, I had just as many doubts as you going in, but everyone of them was washed away from the very first scene in the movie — you gotta go!

      • Kim B October 2, 2010, 3:30 pm

        Thanks for the reassurance, Keith!

        (and I just realized my typo…that should read “…but I CAN overlook that if David Fincher and Trent Reznor agreed to work on the project…” Not to sound like a giddy fangirl…but…oh heck, I’m a fangirl.)

        • Keith October 2, 2010, 3:50 pm

          hahahaha i love that.

  • Armen Shirvanian October 2, 2010, 12:41 pm

    Hi Josh.

    What is this Facebook contraption? Must be one of those new internet things.

    I think it is good that the movie centers around Zuckerberg, as opposed to more around the service or future add-ons, because he is the reason for its growth, and also for not selling it when various opportunities showed up.