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October 5, 2010 > Movie Review: The Social Network

Movie Review: The Social Network

By Jennifer Gau

Do you want to watch the juicy details behind how Mark Zuckerberg became the youngest self-made billionaire? Entrepreneurs are not the only ones who are attracted to how Facebook quickly grew popular around the world. For someone who lacks social tact, Zuckerberg understands what attracts visitors to a website. People like looking at what their friends are up to, and checking whether someone is available to date. It is difficult to find someone who does not have a Facebook account and would not be able to relate to this movie. Facebook has been so revolutionary that people have started using the word "friend" as a verb. When they first started in 2003, Facebook was exclusive to only the Harvard campus. Then they expanded to anyone with a college e-mail address. Eventually, people of all ages were able to join.

However, as the advertisements say, "you don't get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies." Director David Fincher ties together the myriad of events that lead to two lawsuits against Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg). One is filed by Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), who claims Zuckerberg owes him more shares of the company. Another is from a group of Harvard classmates, twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (Armie Hammer and Josh Pence) and Divya Narendra (Max Minghella), who claim that Zuckerberg stole their idea for the Harvard networking site.

Fincher brings in convincing evidence for what really happened. It's hard to say whether or not the idea was really stolen because it is similar to other networking sites such as MySpace. This compelling story is based upon the book by Ben Mezrich, "The Accidental Billionaires" published in 2009. He also wrote "Bringing Down the House" (2003) that the movie "21" (2008) is based on. Mezrich shows off his talents by creating stories that revolve around visionary individuals at Ivy League schools achieving unheard-of status. His books actually become decent and entertaining movies.

This movie just goes to show how far someone will go for acceptance from his peers. Zuckerberg comes off as a character that does not care about his image or money, which is obvious when he is shown wearing Adidas sandals with socks in the snow. He is not trying to meet more girls or make tons of new friends. Zuckerberg is only trying to set himself apart from the crowd. Costumes emphasize the immaturity of the guys. They aren't middle-aged men battling over millions of dollars, but young men in their 20's with little or no "real world" work experience. During the hearings with their lawyers, Zuckerberg seems to lack a suit among his collection of sweatshirts, and Saverin is wearing a suit that looks too big for him. They are young entrepreneurs whose skills lie in providing the best networking service for the world instead of looking good. On the other hand, Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake), the creator of Napster, likes looking good. He adds a special touch of influence for Zuckerberg; a sort of little devil on the shoulder whispering evil thoughts. His connections and acquaintances are what help Facebook expand faster than the conventional approach that Facebook co-founder Saverin was using - many hours in meetings and traveling to convince small advertisers to invest.

"The Social Network" tells the riveting story involving friendship and betrayal. Facebook is the reason the younger generation has an excuse to have a smart phone. They do not need to check any work e-mails or send out important documents. However, they do need to update their Facebook status and upload visual media taken from their location in the world. The movie is fortunate to have so much relativity that people may feel pressured to watch it just to be a part of Facebook's history.

Runtime: 2 hours
Rated: PG-13

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