The Rating: PG-13
The Marquee: Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Timberlake, Andrew Garfield, Rashida Jones
The Synopsis: “The Social Network” chronicles the creation of Facebook.
By all means “The Social Network" shouldn’t work. Packed with verbose scenes, the movie is centered around computers, nerdy kids and dark sparse dorm rooms. Yet not only does it work, but it holds all the feel of a suspense film. The pearl is not Director Fincher and screenplay writer Sorkin telling us what happened. It’s in getting the audience to figure out the why.
The opening of the hyper-smart sets the tone for the film: Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and his almost-ex girlfriend Erica (Rooney Mara) are talking in a Harvard bar - well, she's talking; he's in a conversational battle - and not clicking. It ends when she storms out just before calling him an “asshole.”
In this moment and for the rest of the film, Zuckerberg appears to be a human search engine fueled by insecurity. His every word is a window into his head, and eventually his relationship with connection, and alienation, will suck in the entire world.
Erica (a fictional character) is right, but at that moment she puts Zuckerberg in business. He goes home, and after a couple of beers starts hacking into the "facebooks" of Harvard dorms to collect the head shots of campus women. He then programs a page where they can be rated for their beauty. Sexist and illegal, the page becomes so popular it crashes the campus servers. While it results in disciplinary action for Zuckerberg, the silver lining comes when Winklevoss twins (Armie Hammer and Josh Pence) along with Divya Narendra (Max Minghella), persuade Zuckerberg to program their dating website at Harvard, but, instead, he goes off on his own to create Thefacebook.com, a modified version of Harvard dating site, with the financial support of his close friend, Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield). Soon enough thefacebook is spreading on campuses across the country, and Zuckerberg and Saverin are meeting with computer entrepreneur hotshot Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) - the founder of Napster. An obvious idol to Zuckerberg, Parker convinces him to bring the booming website to Silicon Valley. When the money starts to pour in ... the problems start to get serious and so does the film.
At the heart of the film lies the questions: Where exactly did the idea, and capital, for Facebook come from, and who should be beneficiaries of its overwhelming success?
Sorkin's handling of the conflicting truths of Zuckerberg, best friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) and twin-towering elites Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss is a trifecta to behold.
While Eisenberg's is the first name you'll commit to memory, he is not alone in delivering a "who knew?" performance. All three male leads, Justin Timberlake, Jesse Eisenberg, and Andrew Garfield are pitch perfect. Timberlake confirms his on-screen stature, that was only hinted at in "Black Snake Moan" and "Alpha Dog." Meanwhile Garfield brings a sincerity and warmth that’s hard not to connect to.
In the end, whether Zuckerberg did or didn't steal the idea of Facebook may never be solved but this tale of betrayal and friendships sure makes for a great story.
A must see!