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The Social Network

A 2010 movie directed by David Fincher.

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4.5 Stars for this well-acted, well-writen film about the jerks who founded Facebook

  • Oct 4, 2010
Rating:
+4
It’s always a special thrill to see a movie that takes an actor and perfectly melds him to a role.  Particularly when it happens for the first time for that actor.  Young Jesse Eisenberg has at last had this happen to him in David Fincher’s fun and super-smart THE SOCIAL NETWORK.  Eisenberg plays Facebook “founder” (I put that in quotes, because the whole movie is somewhat about the idea that perhaps all the credit is NOT due) Mark Zuckerberg.  In the past, Eisenberg has excelled at the smart nerd, the awkward guy who never does well with the ladies because he’s just a little bit unconventional looking and a little bit smarter than everyone else.  In ADVENTURE LAND, he was funny but I didn’t find him entirely convincing.  His character was a smart**s, but you also felt he would probably always be a bit of a loser.  I didn’t completely warm up to him.  In the excellent ZOMBIELAND, he played his part very well, but let’s face it…his role never had “Award season darling” written on it.
 
However, as the difficult to like Zuckerberg, Eisenberg takes Aaron Sorkin’s sharp, almost preternaturally smart dialogue and knocks it out of the park.  Zuckerberg, as presented here, is deeply unlikeable, because he’s the smartest guy on campus but also deeply insecure.  He speaks his mind, which is often unpleasant…because he does so in the most condescending ways possible.  He doesn’t intend to be a jerk…but he doesn’t intend NOT to be either.  Eisenberg fires on all cylinders here…and it was a blast to watch.
 
Equally exciting was to enjoy virtually all the other performances as well.  Most sympathetic was Andrew Garfield as Eduardo Saverin, the CFO of Facebook…and Zuckerberg’s only true friend.  His Saverin comes across as slightly fussy and old-fashioned…but with sincere motives and a heart-on-his-sleeve attitude towards business.  It’s an attitude that we admire, even as we see it is so totally wrong for the high paced business of the not so distant past when Facebook sprung into being at the height of our economic success in the early 2000s.  He believes that friendship and honesty mean something…and is run over because of it.  The guiltiest pleasures came from Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker, the founder of Napster.  He’s a high-flying huckster.  A womanizer and charmer…clearly super smart and marketing savvy…but he also oozes insincerity.  Timberlake must now be considered a full-blown actor…not just a charming performer of self-effacing sketches on SNL.  He utterly steals the scenes he is in…and he has no compunction about being even more unlikeable than Zuckerberg.  While the performance is not exactly a revelation (it doesn’t stretch him THAT much)…it can’t be ignored or laughed-off either.  I also enjoyed Armie Hammer as the Winklevoss Twins…some of the folks from whom Zuckerberg allegedly stole the idea of Facebook.
 
THE SOCIAL NETWORK essentially tells the story of the development of Facebook.  It works on a big, social commentary stage…showing us WHY the human race seems to be wired to embrace such a “network.”  If you explain to someone what Facebook is…it sounds trite and self-serving.  But in reality, it has woven itself into the fabric of society.  But THE SOCIAL NETWORK is about personal disappointment, achievement, betrayal and entitlement.  If Spiderman was supposed to know that “with great power comes great responsibility”, someone needed to tell Zuckerberg that with great intelligence comes great responsibility.  He’s like a super-hero of coding.  But he’s a villain when it comes to dealing with others.  We see strong friendships collapse, partnerships fray and desires corrupt. 
 
Fincher, over the years, has shown himself to be a director of great style.  Certainly in works such as SEVEN, FIGHT CLUB & PANIC ROOM, his style has enabled him to overcome stories that wouldn’t have worked in less technically skilled hands.  And he’s had a knack for casting just the right folks to help him out.  But those movies were entertainments…a story about a serial killer, a home invasion and a group of guys who beat each other up (yes, I know some think FIGHT CLUB had social commentary to offer…but that commentary was not exactly new and original…just presented in a new and original way).  With ZODIAC, Fincher tackled a true story that sprawled across years and personalities.  It was very well made, but was also often turgid and needlessly focused on miniscule details.  With THE SOCIAL NETWORK, Fincher has polished his craft.  It always moves fast.  It focuses on details (such as Severin & Zuckerberg talking about algorithms), but with such verve and authority that it never bores.  It follows a true story, but with the rhythms of fiction.  And Sorkin, whose writing often makes me think this is what Neil Simon scripts would have sounded like if he’d written political stories instead of romantic comedies, has actually wrestled this story into a compelling package.  His writing always makes everyone sound much smarter than anyone is in real life (just as Simon made folks sound FUNNIER than anyone is in real life)…but here, he’s got characters that we actually believe COULD talk this way.
 
I wasn’t sure I would like this film.  I don’t use Facebook myself (yet) and I just wasn’t convinced I could like a film all about the rich brats who invented it and then squabbled about it.  But after enjoying the excellent script and near Oscar caliber performances…I left knowing I’d thoroughly enjoyed one of the best films of the year thus far.

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November 07, 2010
Great title! LOL! Here's my review if you want to give it a read: http://lunch.com/t/5msp
 
October 08, 2010
Your review makes me want to see the movie. You were thorough, yet brief in hitting on all the aspects involved in putting a story on screen.
 
October 05, 2010
agreed. This film was totally a pleasant surprise! Great review!
October 05, 2010
Thanks. I guess a well-written and well-acted film will ALWAYS be worthwhile, even if you didn't think the subject matter was inherently interesting.
 
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. …
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I've got my own site, www.afilmcritic.com, on which I'm posting my reviews. I am 46 years old, married 25 years, two kids (23 & 18) and currently work in accounting/finance. I spent 15 years … more
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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.

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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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