Thursday, October 14, 2010

Movie Review: "The Social Network"

What's the point of being rich if you have no friends? The opening credits of The Social Network play over a scene of future Facebook co-founder, Mark Zuckerberg (played by Jesse Eisenberg) solitarily running across the Harvard campus, passing socializing college kids without a second glance from Zuckerberg. Mark has just been broken up with by this beautiful girl because Mark could not understand the concept of human relationships. All Mark wants to be is somebody, and he gets that wish, if nothing else, in the end.

The Social Network tells the story of the founding of the now famous social networking website, Facebook, and all of the lawsuits and broken relationships it took to create the source of friendships for the 21st century. In a way, writer Aaron Sorkin and director David Fincher have crafted a modern day Shakespearean tragedy. No, there is no murder, but there is a ton of backstabbing. Nowadays, we don't need to kill to usurp power, we just need money, and more of it. Whether Zuckerberg stole the idea for Facebook from some collegiate athletes wanting to make a Harvard dating website or not, this is all irrelevant, the bottom line is, Zuckerberg, like all great tragic heroes, made the wrong alliances (Sean Parker, founder of Napster) and allienated his only real friend (Eduardo Saverin, co-founder of Facebook and former CFO).

Actor Andrew Garfield plays Eduardo Saverin with such an emotional range, that I would say Garfield's performance is the heart of the movie. You feel for Eduardo being phased out of the company by his one and only friend and Zuckerberg's new "so-called friend" Sean Parker, played surprisingly well by Justin Timberlake in fantastic acting form. The true reason Eduardo is phased out is never really explained, maybe Mark was always jealous that Eduardo was more popular than he, or that Sean felt threatened by Eduardo's business prowess. The worst part is, and this is what really makes The Social Network a tragedy, is that Mark spent so many hours working on his computer with headphones on, tuning out the rest of the world, that he never listened to reason and lost his only legitimate friend. This turn towards pathos in the final scenes of the movie are played exceptionally well by Jesse Eisenberg as Zuckerberg. With just one look, Eisenberg manages to convey a range of unsaid emotions, that while he is still talking like the world's biggest socially awkward jerk, he knows what he's lost.

I give The Social Network an A+!

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