By now, you’ve undoubtedly heard the heavy buzz surrounding The Social Network, the movie about how Facebook ultimately came to be, and whose toes and feelings had to be stepped on for it to get there. You might have also seen the salacious headlines detailing the controversy of whether the movie is really an accurate depiction of its creator, and some of you might have even drooled at the fact that Aaron Sorkin wrote the script and David Fincher directed it. With all this hype, you might have wondered if this is the kind of over-dramatized film worth paying for, and I’m telling you that it’s worth every penny.
The Social Network is almost flawless, and where it does fall short has only to do with its portrayal of college life, and the use of the word “Silicon Valley” to refer to a demographic of people. The script for the story was phenomenally written, the witty (and oftentimes humorous) dialogue kept the audience engaged, and the storyline managed to peak a little bit with each act. When the film finally hits its climax, I realized that the story of Mark Zuckerberg really isn’t finished, and I left the theater wanting more. But before I delve into a bit about the plot itself, I wanted to share with you five moments from The Social Network that really left an impression on me (spoilers ahead, so avert your eyes!):
1. Harvard is filled with programming geeks who take shots of alcohol in between lines of C++, and hang out with women who are, supposedly, equally interested in their mastery of binary languages. Folks, geek is the new chic.
2. Apparently, it is possible to hack into the Harvard dormitory’s own “face book” pages, which leads me to believe that there are a ton of college campuses around the country that have their own flawed web security infrastructure—that’s a no-no in this day and age folks, and I encourage that you step up your game lest history repeats itself. Do we really need another social networking site rising up from the depths to take over our internets? I think not.
3. During its inception, Mark Zuckerberg allegedly (the whole movie’s plot is one allegation after another) came up with the idea to display your relationship status while his classmate was droning on and on about some hot girl on campus that he wanted to ask out on a date. Never mind the fact that MySpace and Friendster, which predate Facebook, already had relationship status banners available to the young and single.
4. Palo Alto is, apparently, the place to party and install a zip line in your back yard. It is also the place where Steve Jobs currently lives, so there is probably some sort of direct correlation between the fact that Facebook and Steve Jobs both are both based in Palo Alto. Maybe good--nay, great!--things do come from the suburbs of the Silicon Valley.
5. Justin Timberlake is a really, really good actor.
The Social Network tells the story of the life and times of Mark Zuckerberg as a young college kid at Harvard. In the film, he is portrayed as a needy, sardonic, socially awkward nerd. The movie starts off with Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) in a bar, chirping away subtle, sort of playful insults towards his girlfriend sitting across the way. But by the end of this scene, we see a freshly dumped Zuckerberg running back to his dormitory—in Speedo sandals, no less—with a clear mission for vindication from heartbreak that had just befallen him. Then, we see him plop down in front of his Sony VAIO to bang out a few sentences of unpleasantries in his online journal, for all the internet to see. His roommate then says something that triggers the sudden desire in Zuckerberg to create a website that rates the attractiveness of the undergraduate females at Harvard. “FaceMash” goes viral around campus, and Zuckerberg seems somewhat pleased. From this point on, it is clear that he is going to be a difficult character to like.
Throughout the movie, Zuckerberg never seems to struggle with his morality or sense of self. He goes from measly college kid to master of the social networking domain in two hours, but I’m left wondering if he ever felt any remorse for the outcome of his actions. Overall, it was difficult to sit there and watch the downfall of these college kids, as their once incredibly idealistic endeavor turned into a dramatic stage of events. The whimpery, puppy dog face of Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) broke my heart, but that’s before I realized that he also made some pretty bad business decisions on his own, probably because of his inexperience and his eagerness to become “somebody”, just like Zuckerberg.
While watching the movie, I wondered if the real life people that were portrayed, rather fictionally, in The Social Network ever realized the consequence of their actions. Now, Facebook is one of the biggest sites in the world, with over 500 million users, and already I see the way that a massive social networking site has affected both personal relationships and the way we communicate with each other. It’s just like the advent of the personal computer, and it’s why we admire people like Steve Jobs, and why we’re so interested in his personal life and obsessed with the emails he replies to. So, even if you don’t use Facebook or care for Zuckerberg’s persona, movies like these are worth seeing because they make for a compelling character study of the lives of these tech titans.
Are you seeing The Social Network this weekend? Did you already catch a screening? Tell us what you think in the comments below--we’d love to hear your take on this movie. And hey, do you think they could cast Justin Timberlake in the next remake of Pirates of the Silicon Valley?
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