Ramblings about entertainment, lifestyle and travel
Based on the book The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal by Ben Mezerich, The Social Network tells the mostly factual story of the founding of Facebook and how his best friend, along with several others, end up suing him for millions.
David Fincher’s The Social Network opens with Mark Zuckerberg, played by Jesse Eisenberg, being dumped by his then girlfriend, Christy, for being overly obsessed with becoming part of Harvard’s elite. Mark Zuckerberg is a narcissistic and arrogant sophomore at Harvard, who strives to “better his life’ by becoming part of Harvard’s elite. On top of this, however, he is a very talented programmer, if not a genius. Zuckerberg uses his skills to create a site called “Facemash” which lets its users compare pictures of Harvard undergrads. He accomplishes this in a short period of time by writing computer coding that allows him to hack into students’ house files to download pictures. As he’s found out, he finds himself in trouble with the school and alienated from the entire female student population. It’s not all bad news for Zuckerberg, who is then approached by the Winkelvoss twins, Cameron and Tyler (played by Armie Hammer), who form part of Harvard’s elite.
The twins approach Zuckerberg about writing the code for their page HarvardConnection, which triggers the idea for “The Facebook”. Although Zuckerberg agrees to help, he spends day and night working on his new project, neglecting the HarvardConnection. With financial help from his best friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) in return for making Saverin CFO of the company, the site goes live after a few months, fuelling anger from the twins and their partner, Divya Narendra. As the story unfolds, different lawsuits are filed from the Winkelvoss twins for ‘stealing their idea’ and Saverin for eventually kicking him out of the company. His friendships and relationships start to crumble, as he gets more obsessed with going global with the site. The Facebook is an instant success, reaching 150,000 members across several campuses in the first year. Once Napster co-founder Sean Parker (playes by Justin Timberland) joins Zuckerberg, everything seems to spiral out of control, with Saverin becoming more and more isolated from the group due to him living in New York.
Both Parker and Zuckerberg are geeky individuals, lacking the social skills needed to make more friends than enemies. Right from the beginning, Zuckerberg is portrayed as someone who tried too hard to fit in, while not taking it how his own attitude and actions are the reason for his isolation. The film shows Zuckerberg getting more arrogant by the minute, which is irritating as much as it is intriguing. Zuckerberg remains irritating throughout the movie, failing to stand up for his best and only friend, Saverin, which alienates him further from the audience. Much of the success of the site is based on human behaviour and curiosity as well as nosiness. For Zuckerberg it is all a bout being ‘cool’ and admired, becoming the next ‘Bill Gates’, a hit with the ladies and an idol for men.
Both Garfield and Eisenberg deliver an outstanding performance and were perfectly cast by David Fincher with a very well written script that catapults the movie from being a dry account to being a truly enjoyable story about the founding of one of this decade’s phenomenon. While this movie is not for everyone, it is definitely not a boring account of the founding of Facebook. I’m interested to see more of Eisenberg, as this role seemed to be a perfect fit for him, but for now I’m unsure how versatile he is. The movie itself gets 4.5/5 from me.