Facebook is recognized as the most popular social network in the World. Boasting over 500, 000, 000 (wow. that’s a lot of zeroes) registered users Worldwide, Facebook “Giv(es) people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.” With just a few taps from our keyboard and a few clicks from the mouse, staying connected is as easy as – posting messages to Walls, Tag-ing Friends in pictures and videos, Poke-ing each other, and even tending to our Farmville‘s. Social networking is fast becoming an integral part of daily life, withFacebook providing the most ideal landscape. Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO and co-founder of Facebook, must be pretty stoked.
But I’m not so sure everyone else is. Let me explain:
Based on the book The Accidental Billionaires, written by Ben Mezrich, The Social Network is a film about the founding of the Internet social networking website Facebook. “Wait a minute. A movie about Facebook? You have got to be kidding me, right? You’re not going to tell me that there was drama behind the creation of Facebook, are you?” Exactly. So stay awhile. You might want to learn more about how Mark Zuckerberg propelled Facebook to the top, but not without the help of a few friends and enemies along the way.
To say that The Social Network is an entertaining film would be an understatement. Amazingly orchestrated, director David Fincher and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin combine real-world events w/ Hollywood embellishments to create a magnificently executed film. Jesse Eisenberg plays an intelligent, socially awkward, analytical, shy and convincing Mark Zuckerberg. Playing Eduardo Saverin (“Zucks” college buddy/confidante and the first CFO of Facebook) and doing a really impressive version of someone really unknown is Andrew Garfield. (*sidenote: he also happens to be our new Spider-Man!). And to credit the supporting cast: Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker, Brenda Song as Christy Lee, as well as others, all do a bang up job of making The Social Network the #1 movie during its opening weekend.
But You don’t have to take my word for it. Rotten Tomatoes does a really good job telling you that. And review, after countless review, after review, after review, after review – all paint a pretty decent picture of what the populace thinks of the film.
WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! Or, jump to my conclusion.
WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! Or, jump to my conclusion
After his girlfriend, Erica, breaks up with him, Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg gets drunk and posts unflattering comments about her on his Livejournal account and gets the idea to create a website to rate the attractiveness of female Harvard undergraduates. Since Harvard lacks a unified database of student names and pictures, Mark hacks into the databases of various residence halls and downloads the pictures. Using an algorithm supplied by his best friend Eduardo Saverin, Mark creates a page called “Face Mash”, where people choose which of two women is more physically attractive. The site quickly becomes highly popular among male students and scandalous among female students. By four o’clock the next morning, the “Face Mash” site is getting thousands of hits an hour and crashes the Harvard web servers.
Mark is brought before the Administrative Review Board on charges of violating students’ privacy. He is put on six months’ probation and vilified by most of the women of the Harvard community. However, the popularity of “Face Mash” and the fact that he created it in one night, while drunk, attracts the attention of business partners Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, identical twins and members of Harvard’s rowing team, and Divya Narendra. They are looking for a programmer to help create a new web site, ” The Harvard Connection”, a proposition Mark accepts. Soon, Mark approaches Eduardo, who has been invited to pledge the Phoenix S-K Final Club, with an idea for an online social networking tool he calls “The Facebook”. It would be exclusive to those with a Harvard email account, the reasoning being that “Face Mash” was successful because site visitors knew the women featured; social connections will be made by invitation only, eliminating any invasion of privacy. Eduardo agrees to help Mark and gives him $1,000 seed money.
While writing the programming for Facebook, Mark dodges the Winklevosses and Narendra; the three investors soon become concerned about what he is doing. Mark and Eduardo eventually launch The Facebook, distributing the link to Eduardo’s connections at the Phoenix S-K. The site is well received and quickly spreads throughout the student body. Narendra learns about The Facebook and tells the Winklevoss twins that Mark stole their idea. In an interview in the Harvard Crimson, Zuckerberg states part of his motivation for the new site is to atone for his wrong-doing in the “Face Mash” incident. This is precisely how the Winklevoss twins had presented their business opportunity to him, and they take Mark’s statement as deliberately flaunting his theft of their idea. Cameron and Divya want to sue Mark for intellectual property theft; but Tyler, who insists they are “gentlemen of Harvard”, says they must first send a cease and desist letter.
At a lecture by Bill Gates, two attractive female students introduce themselves to Eduardo and Mark, and invite them for drinks at a bar. The four of them are soon having sex in a public bathroom, leaving Eduardo and Mark amazed that they now have “groupies.” While waiting for their dates, Mark sees Erica drinking with friends. He tries to talk to her, but she rebuffs him, recounting the hurtful things he had said about her in his blog postings. Chastened, Mark leaves with Eduardo and the girls and head to Mark’s room, where they outline the structure of the company and their plan for moving forward. As Facebook grows in popularity, they expand to other schools in the Northeast, and Eduardo suggests that they include Stanford University in Palo Alto, California in order to attract the attention of Silicon Valley venture capitalists.
As Facebook becomes more and more popular, the Winklevoss twins and Narendra grow embittered at seeing their idea advance without them. Tyler still refuses to go along with a lawsuit, instead accusing Mark of violating the Harvard student Code of Conduct. Through their father’s connections, they arrange a meeting with then-Harvard President Larry Summers, who is dismissive of their concerns and sees no potential value in Facebook.
Through Christy Lee, who is now Eduardo’s girlfriend, Eduardo and Mark arrange a meeting with Napster founder Sean Parker. Eduardo is skeptical of Parker, noting the man’s problematic history with the companies he has been involved in. Mark, however, is charmed, as Parker presents a vision of Facebook which largely agrees with Mark’s own expansive vision. Parker also suggests dropping the article “the” from the site’s title.
While Eduardo stays in New York to try and arrange advertising support for the site, Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz move the company’s base of operation to Palo Alto. When Eduardo visits from New York, he is dismayed to discover that Sean Parker is living at the house and is making business decisions for Facebook. After a falling out with Mark, Eduardo freezes the bank account which he had set up for the company and returns to New York. Upon returning to New York, he gets into an argument with Christy, who Eduardo had previously described as “insanely jealous”. Christy accuses Eduardo of cheating on her while out in California and cites his Facebook profile, which lists his status as “single”, as evidence. Eduardo says he doesn’t know how to update his profile, a claim Christy doubts. Angered, Christy sets fire to Eduardo’s bed. As Eduardo extinguishes the fire, Mark informs him that they have secured money from an angel investor.
While in England for a rowing competition, the Winklevoss twins find out that Facebook has expanded to universities in the United Kingdom, and decide to sue Facebook. Returning to Palo Alto, Eduardo signs papers outlining the new corporate structure, including reduced shares for him and Mark and single-digit share percentages for Sean Parker, Dustin Moskovitz, and new investor Peter Thiel. Some time later, Eduardo learns that Mark and Sean have authorized a new stock issue which has reduced his share of the company from a third to less than one percent. He furiously confronts both Mark and Sean and leaves Facebook determined to sue. Sean Parker and several Facebook interns throw a wild party, but the police arrive after responding to a noise complaint and arrest Parker and the interns after finding cocaine.
The film ends with Mark sitting in a conference room at his lawyer’s office, where he has been present for depositions in the two lawsuits which Eduardo and the Winklevoss twins have brought against him. A junior lawyer for the firm informs him that they will be settling with Saverin, since the more sordid details of Facebook’s founding will make Mark unsympathetic in a jury trial. As she leaves, Mark sends Erica a friend request on Facebook. He sits there, refreshing the page, waiting for her to respond.
Overall, The Social Network was a really good film. The plot is solid, I dig the rapid-fire dialogue, the cast was great, and the Easter eggs trickled throughout the movie (did you catch any of them?) kept me glued to my seat the entire time. Do I recommend that you go see this film? You betcha. And after you’re done, be sure to Facebook me. Let us know what you thought about the film in the Comments and hope you enJoi!