It’s 2003 and Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) is having a drink with his current girlfriend, Erica Albright (Rooney Mara). Heated discussions on schools, education and social relevancy brings Albright to the breaking point of their relationship and leaves Zuckerberg to himself. Most people sulk over the loss of relationship by bottling it up inside. Others by taking their frustrations out on an easy target like a punching bag. Not Zuckerberg. He runs home and blogs about his “bitch” of an ex-girlfriend. Zuckerberg isn’t most people. Mainly because most people haven’t invented Facebook.
Of course, creating facebook wasn’t a one-step procedure for Mr. Zuckerberg. After creating the controversial “Facemash.com”, attention is drawn to him in the form of fellow Harvard students and born-into-royalty, Tyler and Cameron, The Winklevoss Twins. The twins inform Zuckerberg of their idea: a website for Harvard students who can interact with each other called Harvard Connection. He accepts the invitation of work and goes straight to work on the project. Except the project he is working on isn’t the Harvard Connection. It’s a more “well-thought out” version of Harvard Connection. One called Thefacebook.com. Enrolled with the help of best friend, Eduardo Saverin, Zuckerberg creates a wildly popular online social experience.
Farther down the road, Saverin and Zuckerberg befriend people such as co-founder of Napster, Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake). Through many celebrations and issues, Zuckerbeg finds himself slapped with two lawsuits and must fight for what he believes is the truth. Who REALLY created facebook?
Jesse Eisenberg has been seen as a teenage star who mostly appears in coming-of-age comedies on how to survive (Adventureland, Zombieland). And he plays it well. But The Social Network forces Eisenberg to rise to the occasion and become Mark Zuckerberg. See, Mark is a genius but also is one of the biggest jerks Harvard has seen. He respects opinions but mostly when they meet his genius level of understanding. Mark also doesn’t pay much attention to anyone but himself. As the films’ runtime grows, It becomes more and more clear that Mark Zuckerberg isn’t history’s greatest hero. In fact, he may even be the villain.
David Fincher took the directing wheel on this one and much like all of his other films, he handles it with expertise. Fincher brings his expert knowledge of filming dialogue and character studies to complete the story of how facebook was founded. If one thing stands out in The Social Network, it’s absolutely the screenplay written by West Wing native, Aaron Sorkin. The script is completely enthralling. Quick delivery and smart responses allow the film to taste as sweet as it does. The Social Network may be a compelling drama resembling a tragic Shakespearian tale, but Sorkin and Fincher have no issue slipping in a lot of on-beat humor that gives the film it’s main source of fluidity.
Expertly handled, written and portrayed, The Social Network is easily one of the best films not in just this year, but of the decade.