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Overall Rating

Awesome: 27.54%
Worth A Look31.88%
Average: 13.04%
Pretty Bad: 4.35%
Total Crap: 23.19%

5 reviews, 39 user ratings

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Social Network, The
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by Erik Childress

"What's On Your Mind Other Than Being An Asshole?"
5 stars

Maybe James Taylor had it right after all. Not when he sang "ain't it good to know you've got a friend," but when he said "Fuck Facebook" at Funny People's MySpace party. And maybe the conspiracy theorists are off when they state that Facebook was invented by the CIA in the wake of 9/11, but perhaps not nuts in the paranoia that we have been duped into relinquishing our most intimate thoughts and moments in the pursuit of connection. David Fincher's - or should we say Aaron Sorkin's - The Social Network does what so many true tales of life, crime and friendship have been failing to do of late. Not just presenting us the story but grafting a larger portrait of what the internet has created of society straight to the foreheads of every texter, tweeter and Farmville player out there.

On a spiteful evening in 2003 having just broke up with his girlfriend, Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg), heads back to his Harvard dormroom and creates a website dedicated to ranking the girls on campus. After crashing the server, Mark is reprimanded by the discipline board but catches the attention of Divya Narendra (Max Minghella) and the Winklevoss twins, Cameron & Tyler (both played by Armie Hammer). They are interested in using his talents to create a university site where students can check out other's profiles, look at photos and become a more close-knit community. Mark, with the help of best friend, Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), runs with the idea and after a month launches his own site - The Facebook.

Mark's clear inspiration are understandably unhappy but disagree over how to handle the situation. Do they do it as honorable Men of Harvard or spiteful silver spoon suckers who were beat by this status-seeking computer nerd? Mark is not as interested in the monetary potential of his creation. At least at first. Acting as his business partner and co-founder, Eduardo lines up potential investors only to be shot down or sabotaged by Mark at every turn. That is until Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) enters the picture. Already an entrepreneur of questionable ethics, Parker all but reinvented the music industry by turning a sharing site called Napster into the future of how music is delivered to the consumer. With his luring of Mark to the cool side, a friendship with Eduardo straining and the Winklevoss trio reaching a breaking point, a multi-million dollar lawsuit is imminent, Zuckerberg is on the verge of coming full circle and living in a world of one.

Mark's story is not the atypical fall from grace with the nice guy being seduced by the dark side and leaving everyone important to him in the dust. Mark is established from the very get-go as "an asshole" and remains so true to himself that his arc is to finally come to that realization. Following characters like him as the center of a film is rare outside the occasional music biopic or tales of self-destruction. So to watch one whose rise to wealth is only hiccuped by what amounts to a traffic ticket for a self-made billionaire might be off-putting to viewers whose opinion of Zuckerberg will not change from the first scene to the very last. But it is the subtle examination of that behavior in Sorkin's screenplay that makes this particular character study more than just the zero sum game of labels.

The film is based on Ben Mezrich's book, The Accidental Billionaires, which was drubbed in some circles as tabloid journalism and one-sided as the author never spoke with Zuckerberg himself. A far cry from his acclaimed book, Bringing Down the House, which highlighted the students of MTI and their blackjack skills in Vegas. That praised book was turned into an atrocious film (21) by Robert "The Ugly Truth" Luketic that completely missed the chance to become one of the ultimate tales of sin city. Sorkin has wisely not fallen into the same trap of other naive success stories by concentrating solely on the party atmosphere and all the vices that come with it. Nor has he let the facts of the events dictate its storytelling, a trap that befell even director David Fincher and the timeline-structured screenplay for Zodiac - and to some extent The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Rather, Sorkin has stripped down the Facebook experience and presents the overlying and often unspoken commitment to its usage. How do others view us?

Relationship status, event photos and what's on our minds are the bare essentials of our home pages. But why do we do it? Mark was somewhat obsessed with joining Harvard's elite fraternal clubs and may have always resented Eduardo for being seen as more worthy than him. Eduardo is constantly at odds with those outside his inner circle casting him in a negative light, from worrying whether his association with Facebook would brand him with the same thief moniker as his best friend, to a campus newspaper doing a little TMZ journalism about an initiation involving a chicken. Both friends are forced to confront the possibility of image speculation damaging their endeavors. Eduardo is even hesitant to honor one of Mark's requests for fear of hurting his chances with the prestigious Phoenix Club. And it is eventually one character's comprehension of when to pull the trigger on an irreconciliable reputation that he is finally able to understand how others might think the very same of him.

The priceless duality of the Winklevosses fighting over the honor code of their peers feeds directly to the audience's interpretation of our own two-faced ethics. Mark's attitude only shows spurts of actual humanity towards his partners, but do we not take a slight bit of schadenfreude in watching the privileged fratboys of Harvard take it on the chin? Eisenberg, so likable in films like Roger Dodger and Zombieland, flips the script on himself in mere minutes with Sorkin's masterfully written opening scene and portrays Zuckerberg throughout as a spiteful genius finally having his moment; one he is not ready to share. Fincher's films, even moreso than Christopher Nolan's, have been accused of lacking heart - in the metaphorical if not occasionally rapid-beating sense. All that changes thanks to Andrew Garfield's turn as Eduardo, the film's one decent entity whose pained face carries the weight of every personal and professional betrayal you can imagine. Facebook was supposed to about getting to know one another; the Seinfeld name tag experiment that made it easier to interact and connect with the unknown. Knowing with such intimacy also exposes the flaws in those personalities though and with all communication drifting towards the electronic, the proverbial human connection we purport to crave may be more lost than ever.

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originally posted: 10/01/10 14:00:00
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2010 New York Film Festival For more in the 2010 New York Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/22/17 morris campbell very good imho 4 stars
3/05/15 stanley welles a spellbinding and compelling story with great performances and flawless direction 5 stars
8/15/14 Mario is the Best The Cat in the Hat is awesome! This movie is utter GARBAGE!! 1 stars
8/23/11 Annie G I was expecting something that would disappoint, but I was pleasantly surprised. 3 stars
6/05/11 Piz easily readable and more surface play than true intrigue. Still, a decent movie 4 stars
4/21/11 Maya Jewell I loved it. The characterization and dialogue got me. 5 stars
3/21/11 Guido Sanchez Interesting perspective, and while hollow, still captivating (perhaps because of the story) 4 stars
3/19/11 jessica edwards A good film, a little slow though 4 stars
3/13/11 Luis A very good film, would've enjoyed it more with less hype though 4 stars
3/06/11 Judith Ackerman Please mention that last line of the movie - I just want to gag 1 stars
3/03/11 J This review mentions nothing about the 'made up' plot, way to fail at background research 2 stars
2/20/11 RePTaR Interesting angle on the new Internet start up wave, but it lacked real conflict. 4 stars
2/14/11 Alex Gagnon My boyfriend said he thought it was pretty good.. I haven't seen it myself though! 4 stars
2/13/11 mr.mike Much better than I expected. 4 stars
2/12/11 C Lakewood Emotionly disengaging. Have way through thought "I never want to see this movie again." 2 stars
2/08/11 David Chiozza It is a very good film, but I have to say that I believe it to be rather overrated. 4 stars
2/07/11 Joseph Odle Fincher admitted story was hardly true. This film does nothing new for movies at all. 2 stars
1/24/11 Andrew Not engaging at all. It is as flat as soda over a month old. 1 stars
1/24/11 bill norris Timberlake- quite the actor as well. 4 stars
1/22/11 Beverley M Sporck Interesting to follow the beginnings and path of facebook. 4 stars
1/20/11 Martin I enjoyed it. The acting was good. 4 stars
1/16/11 GEORGE B. FEIST Amazing and Jesse at his BEST EVER. Dialogue is over the top 5 stars
1/16/11 facebook sucks fuck facebook 1 stars
10/21/10 Monday Morning Always interesting but with no humanity or emotion - both required for a great story. 4 stars
10/20/10 Justin Probably the most overrated movie I've ever seen. 3 stars
10/19/10 Mike A story superbly told! 5 stars
10/18/10 kc lame and superficial 1 stars
10/16/10 Suzz just a very average film that's seriously over hyped 3 stars
10/14/10 fred Boring Bad acting Over-rated I hated it 1 stars
10/14/10 Yal e Freedman The Social Network is a fascinating look at the creation and legal dilemmas surrounding the 4 stars
10/09/10 turner what's the point about a movie about facebook 1 stars
10/09/10 Sheila B Completley engaging, if you can keep up with the dialogue.Tells a great story w/great music 5 stars
10/07/10 taylor stupid propoganda film (absolutely pointless) 1 stars
10/05/10 millersxing Why didn't Fincher drop the "The" from the title...sooooooooo uncool. 4 stars
10/05/10 Bob Dog Tedious, repetitive, pointless. 1 stars
10/04/10 killer rubbish pointless movie 1 stars
10/04/10 Simon Brilliantly loaded topical film of Sorkin writing nuggets,tho rapid-fire style not for all 5 stars
10/04/10 Mary Mcmurray I liked it. It portrayed Zuckerberg in a bad light but I'm sure he could care less as he lo 4 stars
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  01-Oct-2010 (PG-13)
  DVD: 11-Jan-2011


  DVD: 11-Jan-2011

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