FILM REVIEW The birth of Facebook
The Social Network might be the best movie of the year
The Social Network
Directed by David Fincher
Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield
PG-13, now playing
In the week and a half it has been since the release of The Social Network, I have raved about the movie to everyone I know, yet I hesitate to say anything too substantial about the movie itself. It is best seen with fresh eyes and no expectations — except, of course, the expectation to be entertained by a movie about one of the defining developments of our generation. Most people who haven’t seen it yet refer to it as “the Facebook movie,” and while it is indeed about Facebook (which, let’s be honest, provides a good enough reason to go watch it), it is, above anything else, an excellent film, already dubbed “the best movie of the year” by numerous critics.
Based on the undoubtedly dramatized non-fiction book by Ben Mezrich, The Accidental Billionaires, the film revolves around Mark Zuckerberg, the entrepreneur who created Facebook during his undergraduate years at Harvard in early 2004, and the two separate lawsuits that soon surrounded him regarding the controversial management and founding ideas of the company. Perfectly played by Jesse Eisenberg (Zombieland, Adventureland), The Social Network’s Zuckerberg is a winning combination of brilliance and social awkwardness that translates into an almost endearing quality of douchiness. We see this immediately in the memorable opening scene between Zuckerberg and his soon-to-be ex-girlfriend, Erica Albright (a deliciously biting Rooney Mara, who is cast to play the lead character in hit-novel-turned-movie The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo), in which he effortlessly carries about five conversation threads at once, oblivious to her increasing disgust at his self-absorption until it is too late.
(I’m sure none of us at MIT can relate because here at the ’tute, brilliance and social awkwardness rarely exist hand in hand. As for douchiness, let’s just say that Zuckerberg’s jabs at BU, where Albright attends college, sound remarkably like jabs at Harvard often heard from the mouths of MIT students... But I digress.)
As comedic as it is intensely serious, the movie, directed by David Fincher (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Se7en) and adapted from Mezrich’s book by Aaron Sorkin, triumphs with its witty script, impeccable acting, and breathtaking shots of Boston — shots that will delight any student who has ever fallen in love with views of Harvard Square, the Charles River, and other familiar landscapes. The pulsing soundtrack draws you in, whether it’s accompanying a drunken Zuckerberg hacking Harvard’s web system in his dorm room as glamorous girls line up for an exclusive Final Club party or a neck-and-neck crew race down the Charles. The spot-on acting seals the deal, with impressive performances from Andrew Garfield (as Facebook’s original CFO, Eduardo Saverin) who plays the betrayed best friend heartwrenchingly, and from Justin Timberlake (as charming-but-not-to-be-trusted Sean Parker, founder of Napster). The two hours fly by incredibly fast, leaving you wanting more.
For Facebook lovers merely looking for tidbits on how our favorite procrastination tool developed, the movie doesn’t disappoint there, either — we see how the infamous “relationship status” field came to be — ”the wall” and photo tagging get mentions as well. But for those who have somehow eluded the addiction or are looking for more than Facebook trivia, the movie provides not only a great cinematic experience but an extremely resonating story as well, and one that will undoubtedly inspire future entrepreneurs. This is the movie of our generation — go watch it.