The Social Network

The Social Network (2010)
★★★★ / ★★★★

The first thing I did after watching David Fincher’s “The Social Network” was log on Facebook to check if I had any notifications. Whether one’s feeling toward Facebook and other social networking sites be love or hate, no one can deny the fact that such simple inventions changed how people communicate. Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) desperately wanted to fit in Harvard when he was an undergraduate. He wanted to get into a private club but he didn’t have the means. He was smart but he wasn’t likable. In fact, he was far from likable. When his girlfriend (Rooney Mara) broke up with him, he went up to his dorm room and posted insults about her body and her family on LiveJournal. His only real friend was Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) who also wanted to belong. Eduardo’s emotional intelligence was higher than his friend’s. Eventually, the two became partners in creating Facebook but when it was launched, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (Armie Hammer and Josh Pence) claimed that their idea was stolen. Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake), founder of Napster, came into the picture in order to bring Facebook to an international level. The film benefited from very strong performances from Eisenberg, Garfield, and Timberlake. I was delighted with Eisenberg’s performance because even though I’ve seen him play nerd-chic multiple times prior (with relative ease), I felt like this was his most complete and challenging performance yet. I hated him, I rooted for him, I hated him some more, and I felt sorry for him. The final shot of him refreshing a certain someone’s Facebook page was pitch-perfect because it showed that despite all the money and the acclaim, he had nobody so his life felt empty. Garfield, who’s been doing fantastic independent work for a while, is finally given the spotlight past overdue. He had a lot on his plate because he was the heart of the picture. He was David who had to face multiple Goliaths equipped with brains. We all knew it would take more than a slingshot and some pebbles for him to, not necessarily succeed because we all knew what would ultimately happen, but to take what he deserved. I was invested in his character because he struggled to remain loyal to his friend even though his friend had no sense of loyalty to him. Lastly, Timberlake did a wonderful job playing Parker, a fierce and forward-thinking businessman who knew exactly he wanted and wasn’t afraid to grab whatever he desired even if it was on someone’s else plate. His ego was probably as big as his ambition to be relevant again. Fincher’s confident direction mixed with Aaron Sorkin’s intelligent script made a wonderful film that highlighted not just the story of college students lives’ being broadcasted over the internet or the drama of the creation of Facebook, but also the highly ambitious, although sometimes misguided, natures of young adults today.

6 replies »

  1. Franz,

    I just named this film my #1 favorite of 2010. I’ve written a little about it on my blog, but writing about TSN generally reduces me to a rambling mess, beating myself up for not being able to articulate forcefully enough exactly why, and how much, I love it. You mention several excellent reasons in your review, and Eisenberg and Garfield’s performances are two of the main reasons. I suspect unlike many others, I actually also found the movie to be deeply moving, for its raw portrayal of friendship and betrayal. Even Eisenberg’s Zuckerberg had this touch of vulnerability in the steely public face he put up, and Garfield’s naive Saverin was impossible not to cheer for.


    Also, so many of the technical aspects of this film are remarkable, from the cinematography; to Trent Reznor’s score; to a sound mix that brings out exactly the right intensity in key scenes (like the nightclub scene in which Zuckerberg and Parker’s alliance is sealed); and like you said, a sharp and witty script from Sorkin.

    Like I said, I just can’t quite articulate how much I loved The Social Network, other than telling you that I saw it four times in the theater, and that I still think about it every day.

    P.S. You’re so right about Garfield’s career. He even made that mind-numbingly bad talkfest Lions for Lambs watchable. Apart from TSN, though, I’d say my favorite Garfield role has to be Boy A. Loved him in Never Let Me Go, too. Hope to see Red Riding in a matter of days.

    • I recommend everyone to visit his list. His writings are always insightful but well able to retain a sense of fun.

      I quite enjoyed “Lions for Lambs” the first and only time I saw it. Maybe I need to see it again. Completely agree with you about “Boy A.” That’s when I started to notice him. I haven’t seen “Never Let Me Go” yet but anticipating it on DVD. What’s the twist??? Wait, don’t tell me! This is what I get for not reading the original work…

      I have seen the 1st RED RIDING (the only one he was in). He was good in it but, hmm, I wasn’t that impressed with the film as a whole. I’m about to finish the trilogy.

  2. One of the best films of the year, that has perfect performances, and a fearless direction that never stops once from keeping the viewers riveted.

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