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The Social Network

A 2010 movie directed by David Fincher.

< read all 29 reviews

powerful, informative, and one of the best films of the year

  • Oct 1, 2010
Rating:
+3
Pros: Great cast and story.

Cons: None.

The Bottom Line: One of the best films of the year.

It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t know about Facebook. On any given day, at least 250 million active users log on to Facebook and spend over 700 billion minutes per month updating their status, posting pictures or playing casual games. So dominant is this social network, the name itself is both a brand and a verb. Who would have thought that sharing inanities about what we’re currently thinking, eating, reading, watching with our friends would garner such interest? In the new movie The Social Network, director David Fincher sets out to show how, from the very humblest beginnings, Facebook became the juggernaut that it is today.

In 2003, after a debate and breakup with his girlfriend, fueled by his frustration at his exclusion from the social elite, Harvard undergrad and computer programming genius, Mark Zuckerberg, sits at his computer one night and changes the face of the internet. In just a few hours Zuckerberg, deftly played by Jesse Eisenberg, circumvents the firewalls and security of Harvard and creates a website that allows visitors to rate the ladies of the campus. Within a few hours, the thousands of hits crash the vaunted computer network of the university.

While Harvard staff was not impressed with his efforts, it certainly caught the attention of his fellow students, most notably the Winklevoss brothers, who seek out Zuckerberg with the intention of creating an exclusive website for Harvard students. While seemingly mulling over the proposal of the new site, Zuckerberg rapidly, and obsessively, develops his own. The early version of what would eventually become Facebook soon becomes a campus sensation, much to the dismay of the Winklevoss brothers.

Andrew Garfield plays Zuckerberg’s friend Eduardo Severin who funds Zuckerberg’s efforts. Facebook rapidly became the height of social hipness as its exclusivity widened to more colleges and universities. College students across the country created profiles and quickly spread news of the site simply by word of mouth. Or rather word of email. The success of Facebook soon gains the attention of Sean Parker, played by Justin Timberlake. Parker had risen to prominence as the creator of the popular file sharing site Napster and was eager to become involved with the growing success of Facebook. While Mark is fascinated and inspired by Sean’s slick style, Eduardo isn’t impressed and is highly suspicious of Sean’s motives as well as his shady reputation. As the trailers and posters have touted, you can’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies. Jealousy feeds insecurities that feed accusations that eventually lead to lawsuits.

Eisenberg is fantastic as the egotistical, neurotic, and highly intelligent Mark Zuckerberg, but the true breakout performance of the film has to be that of Andrew Garfield, who has been cast to play Spiderman in the next trilogy of the very popular film series. The British actor who was born and raised in Los Angeles has an understated charisma and appears very capable of becoming a leading man. He infuses Eduardo with class and humanism as he tries to be the friend Zuckerberg doesn’t think he needs.

The film is told largely through flashbacks during a deposition hearing between the parties involved in the lawsuits. Director Fincher skillfully allows his characters to drive the film, letting the story unfold in telling scenes, giving the characters ample room to shine without becoming preachy or resorting to grandstanding.

The characters, despite their flaws, do come across as very believable and sympathetic, even though it’s difficult to imagine going from students to inventors of a pop culture phenomenon, to billionaires in just a few short years. Very few corporations that become dominant in their industry do so without critics, challengers, and those that claim they were responsible for whatever success a company gained.

While The Social Network does not overtly place blame, the light it shines on Zuckerberg isn’t altogether flattering. Surprisingly, the film does not go to the extreme with tech talk. It instead focuses on the relationship between the characters and how they handled the drastic and sudden changes in their lives brought on by a simple program called Face Mash, which became the basis for Facebook.

Strong supporting work in the film combined with the great performances of the lead characters makes The Social Network”a very solid and entertaining film that, for my money, is one of the better films of the year.

While it would be easy to jump to judgment and brand many in the film as egotistical rich people who should be grateful for what they have, I remembered that absolute power corrupts absolutely and I wondered just how well any of us in the audience would react if we were ever faced with a similar situation.
Four stars out of five

Recommended:
Yes

Movie Mood: Serious Movie
Viewing Method: Press Screening
Film Completeness: Looked complete to me.
Worst Part of this Film: Nothing

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November 07, 2010
Nice review, Gareth! I'm about to copy mine over to epinions now. Feel free to read it here, http://lunch.com/t/5msp, or on epinions here: http://www99.epinions.com/review/The_Social_...rk/content_530244406916
 
October 13, 2010
Great review, Gareth! A fine break down of the movie. I'll have to see it while it's still in theaters. Thanks for sharing!
 
October 13, 2010
Very nice review, This was indeed a good film; I'll have to commend the script and the direction on this one. Thanks for sharing!
 
1
More The Social Network reviews
review by . October 03, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
4 ½ STARS: Can't Make A Few BILLION Without Making A Few Enemies...
“The Social Network” is a film directed by David Fincher with script by Aaron Sorkin; the film is based on the book by Ben Mezrich called “The Accidental Billionaires“. “Social Network”. God, how those words now mean quite a lot to a great many number of people these days. Right now, I am posting a review on a “social networking” site called lunch.com about a film that portrays the beginnings of one of America’s most famous “social …
review by . November 24, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
First of all it's statistically impossible for there to be more geniuses in China than there are people in the United States. Statistically 1 in 50 people is a genius - at least as it's defined by Mensa, and that's probably generous. Thus China would need 50 times as many people as the United States to have their geniuses exceed our population. Alas, they only have four times as many.         It is this sort of blatant disregard for facts and basic science …
review by . February 03, 2011
posted in Awesomeness
Words are weapons in THE SOCIAL NETWORK. For the most part, words are used vivaciously to accuse and to criticize Mark Zuckerberg's decisions on the road to becoming the billionaire he is today. After all, the tagline for David Fincher's THE SOCIAL NETWORK sums up the movie's point of being: "You don't get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies." Even if Aaron Sorkin, with his incredibly human and detailed dialogue, adapted Ben Mezrich's semi-fictional …
review by . February 14, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Who would think that the 2010 Oscar race appears to be down to a stuffy piece of British manners about a stuttering king and a sparky commoner, and a static legal procedural piece about the invention of a social network site?  Of course, those descriptions don't do justice to the quality of directing, writing, and acting in The King's Speech (which I have reviewed separately) and The Social Network.      The key to the attraction of these movies isn't in the …
review by . December 15, 2010
Unlike the many people who are part of a social network to me I felt socially awkward seeing The Social Network with my family since the movie plays differently for me than my genetically connected counterparts. For those of you who don't have a computer and have been living in a cave in the middle of nowhere The Social Network is the semi-realistic tale of Mark Zuckerberg, a sophomore at Harvard who, after a post dumped drunken escapade creates a little website called Facebook. Ah Facebook …
review by . October 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
The Pirates of Silicon Valley 2?
Alright, so I have to admit, I'm somewhat of a Facebook fan boy. Not the type that is completely consumed by Facebook 24/7, but the kind that loves the idea that some dude from Harvard turned a website into a $25 Billion dollar business and he's only 26. Also let me put this one out there, I'm sick of the whole "down with Facebook" mini movement that people are trying to get started because Facebook wants their ads to be relevant to you.      With that …
review by . August 30, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
I take back every bad thing I ever said about Justin Timberlake. It's that he came riding in on the back of a popular boy band, and we all know how that usually turns out, right? Well, if you were among the many, many Timberlake bashers, you may take heart in the fact that his singing hasn't really changed one bit. However, he has proven to be a great pop music innovator, but what really surprised me is his acting ability. In The Social Network, he plays Napster founder Sean Parker, the charismatic …
review by . August 20, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
    In the opening scene of Social Network we eavesdrop on a conversation between Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and his girlfriend. At the end of the scene Mark's now ex-girlfriend sums up his treatment of people in a succinct statement. She told him that he would probably do something big and complain that girls didn’t like him because he was a nerd. She went on to say that this was a lie. That girls wouldn’t like him because he was an a-hole. He went on to make …
review by . January 31, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Upon first hearing about The Social Network my first thought was the same as just about everyone else's.  "Who in the hell wants to watch a movie about the creation of FACEBOOK?" But I'd seen crazier things happen.  Much crazier things happen.  I figure if we can make a movie based on a theme park ride, making a movie about the creation of Facebook can't be so bad.  Of course, the movie is about much more than JUST the creation of Facebook.  If it were …
review by . October 09, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
If The Social Network is about brilliant but shallow people building a brilliant but shallow website making scads of money and screwing their co-conspirators in the process, then this movie deserves four plus stars. it's a little boring, but the points are made; unfortunately, it couldn't make me care.      It's a cleverly written(note:  clever - not brilliant,) competently directed, well acted movie about characters as devoid of substance as facebook itself. …
About the reviewer
Gareth Von Kallenbach ()
I am a syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. My work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site "Skewed … more
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About this movie

Wiki

The Social Network is a 2010 drama film directed by David Fincher about the founding of the social networking website Facebook. The film features an ensemble cast, which consists of Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Brenda Song, Max Minghella, Rooney Mara and Armie Hammer.

The film was written by Aaron Sorkin and adapted from Ben Mezrich's 2009 nonfiction book The Accidental Billionaires. The film is distributed by Columbia Pictures and is set for an October 1, 2010 release. None of the Facebook staff, including founder Mark Zuckerberg, will be involved with the project. One of the co-founders, Eduardo Saverin, was a consultant for Mezrich's book.  The film is distributed by Columbia Pictures and was released on October 1, 2010.

Poster art for "The Social Network"

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Tags

Movies, Drama Movies, Drama, Social Media, Reviews, Facebook, In Theaters, Trailers, 2011 Oscar Nominee, Justin Timberlake, 2010 Movies, Rooney Mara, Mark Zuckerberg, Brenda Song, Andrew Garfield, Rashida Jones, The Social Network, Jessie Eisenberg

Details

Director: David Fincher
Genre: Drama
Release Date: October 01, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Aaron Sorkin
Runtime: 121 minutes
Studio: Columbia Pictures
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