This has been an entertaining week for me, and in order to end it on a good note, I felt the need to watch a movie. I had been hearing rave reviews about The Social Network – not to mention the success it had during awards season, so I decided to give it a go. The Columbia Pictures film stars Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Armie Hammer, Max Minghella, and Rooney Mara. I have to admit, that the premise of the movie was a bit bizarre, but it was intriguing. I mean, let’s be honest here; the basic idea of a movie about Facebook is enough to make you sit and scratch your head and wonder why anyone would want to watch that. However, the execution of the movie is just phenomenal.
The movie begins in 2003 at a bar near Harvard University. Erica Albright (Rooney Mara) is trying to have a conversation with Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg), but Mark is busy bouncing through several different conversations at once. Eventually, Erica gets to the point and ends their relationship. In a drunken rage, Mark writes a scathing blog about Erica and gets the idea to create a website rating women on their looks side-by-side. Hacking into every house at Harvard, he uses an algorithm created by his friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) and creates FaceMash.com. The site itself proves to be incredibly popular and it crashes the Harvard servers overnight. Of course, this doesn’t endear him to the female population on campus, and he receives a six month academic probation based on crashing the server. He also gets the attention of Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (Armie Hammer) and Divya Narenda (Max Minghella). They have an idea for a site called HarvardConnect.com, but they need someone who is a brilliant programmer. They set up a meeting with him, and pitch him the idea. What happens next is a cavalcade of epic proportions, including meeting the founder of Napster, Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake), incorporating the site, and lawsuits galore.
I’m honestly not familiar with Jesse Eisenberg’s body of work, but I hear it’s unique. It’s my understanding that he was the guy you get if you couldn’t get Michael Cera. After this movie, I think it may be safe to say that Michael Cera is now the guy you get if you can’t get Jesse Eisenberg. He plays Mark Zuckerberg as a jittery college kid who gets over being jilted by creating the social networking service of a lifetime. He plays Zuckerberg like an asshole, and he has a one-track mind about things. He means well, but he doesn’t quite get it when people are mad at him.
Andrew Garfield is spectacular in this movie as Eduardo Saverin. Looking at him onscreen is like watching a brilliant painter at work. I wasn’t quite familiar with his body of work, but I will be soon. His calm demeanor is a beautiful contrast to Eisenberg’s frenetic pace. You could tell that Saverin had a lot of concern for his friend, and when you see his reaction when things go south, it’s poetry in motion.
Armie Hammer and Max Minghella are great performers in their parts, but I have to admit, Hammer is incredibly phenomenal as the Winklevoss twins. Yes…twins. One person played two people, and not only did he play it well, he gave them completely different personalities. Of course, they had to use Josh Pence as a body double for one of the other twins, but it was still spectacular to see him basically act to himself. Minghella plays Divya Narenda as an angry genius who wants to get the ball rolling in paying back Zuckerberg for what he’s done.
Rooney Mara plays Erica Albright, the woman who ends up becoming the muse for the social networking site that defines all social networking sites. You don’t see her on the screen a lot, but her presence is felt throughout the entire film. Not only that, but she stares daggers through Zuckerberg and you feel the hurt and angst that she feels for him.
The movie was directed by David Fincher, and it was a brilliant piece of work. He frames the movie wonderfully, and every shot counts. He directed a script that came from the brilliant Aaron Sorkin, and the dialogue pops with every word the cast says. If there is anyone out there who wants to learn how to write a screenplay (raises hand), this is the guy to learn from. The music was fantastically done by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, and it fits every scene. I was disappointed that it beat out my personal favorite composer – that would be Hans Zimmer, but after watching this movie, I can see why it did.
There are certain movies that define a generation, and The Social Network is definitely one of them. It is a brilliant piece of work, and the tagline for the movie fits. It is definitely true that you can’t make friends without making a few enemies, and I can’t even imagine making 500 million friends with the natural amount of enemies. I rate this movie at a five on the More Epic Than Love Jones scale, and if you haven’t seen it, you should.
You won’t be disappointed.