This past weekend, a few friends and I actually made the sojourn to a movie theater to spend $8.50 (student price) to see The Social Network on its opening weekend. Being a budget babe, I ordinarily would’ve waited for this to come out on dvd or see it at the discount cinema to save a few bucks. However, after reading a very positive article about the film in Entertainment Weekly this week intimating the movie was already generating Oscar buzz, I knew I had to see what everyone was talking about. (Don’t worry, the irony that not only am I addicted to facebook, a social networking website, in real life but have now also paid actual money to go see an entire feature film about it is not lost on me.)
The Social Network is based on the best-selling novel, The Accidental Billionaires, by Ben Mezrich. The movie simultaneously tells the story of Zuckerberg as a Harvard undergrad inventing the site, marketing and expanding Facebook, and the more recent legal actions against him. Intriguingly, Zuckerberg has been sued by both his original co-creator, investor, and best friend, and also by three members of an elite Harvard final club who claim that Zuckerberg stole their intellectual property- a social networking site called Harvard Connection. Nicknamed “the facebook movie,” the film isn’t so much about the growth and popularity of the website as it is a story about a young man’s struggle to be successful and to what means he will go in order to achieve that goal. The acting is authentic and natural, while the script makes even characters from unfamiliar circumstances (like Sean Parker, founder of napster, and the overprivileged Winklevoss twins) seem relatable.
The quality of the movie is further heightened by stand-out supporting performances by Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker, the founder of napster and a young entrepreneur who can’t keep his partying lifestyle in check to maintain a responsible hold on his adulthood. Also ruthless in business, he convinces Zuckerberg, played by Jesse Eisenberg of Adventureland and Zombieland, to cut his best friend out of the financial package and screw him over in general. Andrew Garfield performs amazingly as Eduardo Saverin, the ousted, exploited best friend who is also subjected to Zuckerberg’s envy and jealousy as he receives an invitation to join a prestigious final club on campus.
While we certainly won’t all be able to empathize with the web-designing, computer programming struggles of a 24 year old multi-billionaire, the film’s true heart and appeal is found in the exploration of the challenges Zuckerberg faces as a boy on the cusp of adulthood- trying to balance, friends, school, romance, figure out his future, and find his place in the world- a journey to which we certainly all can relate.
Have you seen any good movies recently? What did you think of this film?