Movie Review: The Social Network

Spoiler Alert: Old School Reviewer

It seems only fair to start this review with a disclaimer. The reviewer is of a "certain generation" that remembers electric typewriters and rotary telephones. Which is not to say I completely reject modern technology. It's just that "social networking" had, at one point (read, the first several decades) in my life, a very different connotation than Facebook and Twitter.

I was not born with an iPhone in my hand or 5,000 friends or followers to my name. I do marvel at these inventions ... all the more so since I don't really understand why they are soooooo popular!

A Brief Plot Synopsis

"The Social Network" is the story of a Harvard student named Mark Zuckerberg, who becomes the world's youngest billionaire by creating Facebook. If you need me to tell you what Facebook is, you're even more of a luddite than I am.

The story is told in a series of flashbacks, with the current action taking place during legal depositions. You see, Mark is being sued by a pair of spurned preppy twins, as well as his former CFO (and former best friend) Eduardo. Their testimony, along with Zuckerberg's, provides a well-rounded view (not just one person's perspective) of how the biggest, most famous social network in the history of the universe came to be.

This technique is quite effective, as the action unfolds in reverse chronological order. Basically, what we now know as Facebook was not hatched fully formed. Not at all. It morphed. It is an flash-of-genius concept fueled by a series of events and many "happy accidents." Quite a few people contributed, directly and indirectly, to its formulation.

So why, you may ask, does Mark Zuckerberg end up in a law firm conference room being pounded and probed mercilessly? Who are these crew-rowing Winklevoss twins, and why are they accusing him of intellectual property theft? How in the heck did Eduardo, who figures prominently in all phases of the story, end up sueing his friend and business partner?

Sit tight, as more shall be revealed.

Along the way, we get an up close and extremely personal view of how revenge -- in the right hands -- can lead to enterpreneurial brilliance. But, as the movie trailer reminds us:

"You don't get to 5 million friends without making a few enemies."


Truth. Everyone's Got One.
Truth. Everyone's Got One.

What I Liked

Having spent many college and post-college days cavorting in Harvard Square , for me the biggest star of this film is the scenery. I drank up the scenes of Harvard University -- Harvard Yard, Harvard dorms and Harvard culture -- like a kitten laps up milk (or a plebe laps up beer). The rowing scenes on the Charles River also brought back many a happy memory.

The film definitely pokes a finger (and none too gently) at old money classism and Ivy League snootiness. Zuckerberg proves you don't have to be fourth generation Harvard, or a member of any of the "final" clubs, to make a global name for yourself. I should say the Winklevoss twins are not bad guys, really. But their maroon blazers with white-piped lapels, worn for a crew match in England, make it pretty hard to root for them over Mark and his nerdy, motley crew. In fact, one of the funniest scenes in the movie is when the outraged twins request an audience with the president of Harvard. Let's just say the meeting doesn't go their way.

The mysterious Mark Z

I also marveled at Mark's reaction to fame and the ensuing lawsuits. He's pretty deadpan throughout. not to mention irreverent. He's always a half-step off from those around him. He's arrogant, but not in a cocky, flamboyant way; more in a "you just don't get it and I do" kind of way. Whatever influence Napster founder Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake -- perfectly cast!) supposedly has on Mark, it's clear that Mark makes his own decisions. Facebook is Mark's show. He does what seems logical and rational to him at the time. Moving his operation from Cambridge, MA to Palo Alto, CA makes perfect business sense. Anyone who doesn't like it can lump it.

 

What I Didn't Like

For some ridiculous reason I expected Jesse Eisenberg to be the same sweet, goofy, unassuming guy he was in "Juno." But Jesse Eisenberg wasn't in "Juno" -- although he was young and impressionable in "The Squid and the Whale" and absolutely adorable in "Adventureland." Not so much in this film, however.

Regardless of my preconceptions of the leading man, I guess I was unprepared for the harsh reality of Mark Zuckerberg. I mean, the guy's a prick. Well, maybe not so much anymore, since he does give a lot of money to charity. But in this film, he's not a nice person. I think the irony of him starting a "social" networking site is how socially inept he is. But hey -- Zuckerberg's a billionaire and I'm not. Nice guys finish last, as they say.


Andrew Garfield (Eduardo Saverin), Justin Timberlake (Sean Parker -- who literally does get in between them) and Jesse Eisenberg (Mark Zuckerberg)
Andrew Garfield (Eduardo Saverin), Justin Timberlake (Sean Parker -- who literally does get in between them) and Jesse Eisenberg (Mark Zuckerberg)

Disloyal to his friend

I think what bothered me most was how Mark treated his best friend/business partner Eduardo Saverin. Eduardo is the epitome of loyalty. He's right there beside Mark from day one. It's Eduardo who provides the algorithm to "mash" the facebook photos of various Harvard dorms, enabling side-by-side rating of female students. It's Eduardo who provides the funding to get "The Facebook" off the ground. Eduardo's the money guy. He's the CFO of the business. And he does not deserve how Mark (and his California guru Sean Parker) diss him.


Sexploitational

I don't harbor any illusions that undergraduate males put undergraduate females on pedestals. They are fueled by hormones and alcohol (in various forms). And so are the girls. Getting high and hooking up are mainstay college activities. I know that.

I guess the point here is that even computer nerds attract groupies (even if said groupies do turn out to be psycho bitches).

The lone exception to the women-as-status-seeking sexpots stereotype is Erica Albright. Erica is in the first scene of the movie. The words she says to Mark Zuckberg in the beginning hold equally true all the way to the end:
"You are going to go through life thinking that girls don't like you because you're a nerd. But that's not true. It will really be because you're an asshole."

This pretty much sums MZ up.
This pretty much sums MZ up.

Final Thoughts

Do I wish "The Social Network" had won best picture? No.

Should it have won the awards it won? Yes.

Who should see this movie?

Those with a strong stomach for business back-stabbing will not be phased by this movie (I rate it "M" for "meanness"). Those fascinated by rapidly evoloving technology will love this movie. Those who like to see creative ideas take shape and go commercial and make gazillions of dollars will thrill at this movie.

Me? My first words to hubby after the closing credits, were, "Yuck. Kinda makes me want to close my Facebook account." He replied, "I know. I was thinking the same thing."

 

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Comments 33 comments

Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 5 years ago

Pretty good hub. Although it seems like you and me had completely different opinions on this film. I remember when I first wrote a review on this a while back, I liked how the film kind of allows the audience to make up their own minds on who Mark Zuckerberg is. It's kind of refreshing if you ask me, as most biographical films often come off too overly biased to the person it portrays.

What i find most interesting about this movie is that the real life Mark Zuckerberg has actually criticized this film a lot. Saying he thinks it paints a complete inaccurate portrayal of who he is, as he doesn't like how they made him come off as a jerk in this one. Although my only question was the timing of the comments he made when he said that. I mean when the film was fairly released, all he said was that the film makes his life seem more exciting than it actually is. Then when the Oscars started rolling around, then that's when he started bashing the film publicly. My thoughts are, why did he wait for months until after the film's release to say anything? He could've criticized it before the film's initial inception, as i'm sure there are copyright laws that could've came into play. after all, don't films need a person's consent before making a movie based on their lives? Oh well. lol. I'm sure it was probably nothing more than a publicity stunt to promote the movie, but that's just my theory anyways. Thanks again for the great read, as i'll be sure to rate this one up!


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota

What a fun and well-written review on this movie. I do plan to check it out. Is Mark single or married-after reading this review I wonder why a gal would date him. LOL


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hi Minnetonka Twin,

Hard to get a straight answer about whether he's married or not. He does have a girlfriend, Priscilla Chan, who may or may not be his wife....

That's interesting, given one of the themese in TSN is the connection between Jewish men and Asian women!

Stevennix -- Yes, your hubs came up a lot under "suggest links." I must go and read your review and the 15 MZ quotes hub.

Interesting about the "timing" thing on MZ's complaints about the movie. Wasn't timing an issue with the twins? He kept ignoring them for 6 weeks until apparently then made some comment about a technical problem...

As I said, MZ seems to be half a beat off.

If he's really nicer than portrayed in the film, I would be happy!

Thanks for taking the time to write.

I'm glad I waited this long to see the film.


Mentalist acer profile image

Mentalist acer 5 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

The reviews of people that know Mark say the story is,at best,vague in it's biographical detail of him.That Mark did not start Facebook to meet girls,and that his elusive nature was portrayed as mean...I have no intention of watching a mellow-drama of mis-quotes and mis-guided hints.;)


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

Mighty Mom, good review of a movie and it characters and their roles being out lined I'm pretty sure I won't be seeing this after reading the review, peace, dusty


Cagsil profile image

Cagsil 5 years ago from USA or America

Hey Mighty Mom, I received this hub as a part of my morning mail and came to see what the hub-bub was about this movie, which I haven't seen as of yet and from your review, I'm not likely to want to watch it. I enjoyed your write up and still have no desire to see it. Thumbs UP! I appreciate the honesty review. :)


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

MA,

Thanks for the insight. People who are shy and introverted and brilliant are often misunderstood. I know he didn't start FB to meet girls. Nor did he seem to be driven by $. He's just a different guy. And I was quite sensitive to the unrequited love story that started and closed the movie. But don't blame Erica one bit. And that legal associate had the perfect line, as well. "You're not really an asshole, you're just trying so hard to be one."

On the other hand, the filmmakers had to inject some kind of personality into him.

Dusty -- I presume you and I are of a similar generation. As such, I suspect your reaction would be similar to mine.... Plenty of other movies to see!

Cags -- Knowing you, I definitely think you would NOT enjoy this movie. I suspect it would anger you, but on what basis I can't quite say. Still, not seeing it is a wise decision, I think.

Thanks, all, for reading my very untimely review! MM


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

Mom,"Dusty -- I presume you and I are of a similar generation." I reckon we probably are close, my guess your birth fell between 1952 and 55, mine fell between 49 and 49, he he. as far as movies go the last theater movie I have seen was Pulp Fiction in 1994 and I've a few DVD movies of old stuff like westerns. I bought a TV that is a 48 inch big screen, that came with a 32 inch TV on one of their special days, every day is a different special, I just was doing my walk through and these two were together and playing the same DVD at 78 dollars and tax, who but some one with out the money, and the last used computer my little brother sent me is this one and it has a card I didn't know what was, turns out it lets me plug into a HDTV like my new used big screen so I have the biggest monitor one could want if I turn it on, so my dvd player is my computer.

You are right, tooo much better to watch, Peace dusty.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

You are pretty darned close on the era, my friend. Off by just a couple of years (I know I'm wise beyond my years, he he).

I LOVE the story of your TVs and discovering you can play DVDs in HD on your TV screen. I love it because I can relate to that -- simple things still make me happy.

I will NEVER be able to, or even want to do 90% of the things my cellphone can do!

But I managed to get the hang of hubbing, so that's a good thing!

Peace to you. And happy John Wayne and Gary Cooper viewing:-) MM


Mr Tindle profile image

Mr Tindle 5 years ago

Mighty Mom,

Good review overall. I thought the movie was decent for what it was at least. One point though.

Before you feel sorry for Eduardo just realize that he became a billionare off of his Facebook stock. Thats even after the share dilution took place due him not reading the fineprint on the contract he signed. It's also before the lawsuit he one for an un-disclosed settlement probably valued in the $100s of millions of dollars.

It was recently rumored in the news that he is planning to sell $500 million worth of his stock in Facebook before it goes public.

The movie portrayed it like Eduardo got screwed, but did he really?

good hub though, voted up!


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hi Mr. Tindle,

Like Mark, I don't think money was Eduardo's primary motive for being involved.

Eduardo got royally screwed when he came to Cali to find Sean running Facebook with his best friend.

True he should have read the fine print of the contract. But why would MZ and SP make a contract that diluted ONLY Eduardo's shares?

For him it was more about the demoralization of being forced out. Ouch!

But yeah, he made out in the end and got his name back on the masthead.

The twins, on the other hand, didn't deserve a dime....

But whatever.

Thanks for visiting and commenting!


thedutchman profile image

thedutchman 5 years ago

This hub is great. Thanks for sharing


izettl profile image

izettl 5 years ago from The Great Northwest

I think we had the same impressions about this movie and I felt like one of his sheep for having a fb account. After I saw this movie I wrote about how Facebook Sucks-it inspired me to do a lot more research on fb and Mark Z. It was a very dark movie and you get a feeling he created a monster he still doesn't know what it's capable of.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hey thanks,dutchman. You are looking extremely dashing!

Izettl. I'm glad to find a kindred reaction. The movie IS dark, isn't it? And speaking of sheep, did you catch the connection between Eduardo's chicken and comparing girls to animals and the "game" on FB that has to do with FARMS? (I've never gotten involved so don't even know the right terminology).

I will say this, I don't think ANYONE knows what FB is fully capable of. That's why I keep my involvement minimal.

Let it never be said that the creators of HP created a monster they still don't know what it's capable of! LOL.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida

I still haven't seen this film as I usually wait for them to come to HBO rather than go to theatres. After reading this, I'm sure I'll watch it when I have nothing better to do, but won't go out of my way. Thanks. Lynda


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Good call, Lynda. I only saw it because hubby and I spent three nights in a hotel and they had the Oscar winners. We chose "Black Swan," this, and "The King's Speech." I had already seen TKS but wanted hubby to see it -- he loved it, too!

Still on my Oscars list "The Fighter." I have zero interest in "27 Hours." Stevennix reviewed it but I haven't read his review...


Teylina 5 years ago

Good hub. Like the way you wrapped it up and really like your new M for meanness; I think meanness is often worse than anything else. Haven't seen it, but will probably watch out for it at a $1 defunct theater after reading this.


davebaldwin profile image

davebaldwin 5 years ago from Ralegh, NC

Good hub - I saw "The Social Network" twice. What you didn't like about the movie is what I don't like about life :)

I actually did take away a lot of insights about business. I agree that, if the movie plot was accurate, Zuckerberg's disloyalty to Saverin was off-putting. I also think turning his back on the Winklevoss twins was a bad move - he could have made loyal allies out of them. But at the same time, I could relate to the fact that Zuckerberg had a vision that most people didn't get - including Saverin, who wanted to ruin the network by putting ads on it. I know the pain of having a vision and watching everybody around me try to sabotage it....without actually meaning to.

Anyhow, great hub.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hi again, Dave. Interesting point about the Winklevoss twins. But they represent "old Harvard" and MZ wanted to break out of the mold. And he did. I don't think they really would have made good allies. They assumed they had more power (not so much them as their little dark haired toadie friend) and would hold that over MZ (my opinion).

Given my generally lukewarm (at best) impression of FB, I don't think ads would ruin it at all! It's so friggin cluttered with games already...

Thanks for your insightful comment! MM


Krancenblum profile image

Krancenblum 5 years ago from Between Montréal and the Laurentians. Québec, Canada.

Mark Zuckerman is a brillant business man


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hello Krancenblum. He sure is. I cannot argue with that!


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 5 years ago from India

Hi MM - I liked the movie because it showed it like it is. No glossing over the fact that MZ is detached, maybe mean, totally not into the niceties that are expected of him in such a prestigious institution. He just is - him. And the movie seems to say, take it or leave it, that's the way it is. Do we like him? Maybe not. But does he want to be liked? No. Very often, movies tend to make the central character more heroic than he is - that isn't the case here and maybe that's why though I don't particularly like the character, I like the movie :)


The Jet profile image

The Jet 5 years ago from The Bay

Cool review and you made some valid points. In my opinion, David Fincher should've won Best Director at the Oscars.


davebaldwin profile image

davebaldwin 5 years ago from Ralegh, NC

Did you see today's headline? The Winklevii tried to reject the settlement, but it looks like the court shot it down.

http://www.webpronews.com/winklevoss-twins-divya-n...


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

The Winklevii -- LOVE IT!

I didn't read it but heard on the radio. I loved what the judge said. They are Harvard grads and therefore should have been knowledgeable about the deal. Awww. Poor twins. LOL

They got a heck of a lot more out of FB than they ever, ever would have made with their piddly little Harvard-only site....

Thanks for the update, tho, Dave! MM


davebaldwin profile image

davebaldwin 5 years ago from Ralegh, NC

Looks like everybody wants a piece of Zuck these days:

http://blogs.forbes.com/kashmirhill/2011/04/12/the...

Come to think of it, I'm the one who really invented Facebook. I'm going to sue him next!


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

I'd like a piece myself. But there's no way I could claim I invented Facebook. I can't even figure out how to unlock the answers my friends have been giving about me on there! Ridiculous time waster, that. Thank God I never even tried Farmville:-).

Thanks for the update.

I wish you success with your lawsuit!!


davebaldwin profile image

davebaldwin 5 years ago from Ralegh, NC

Looks like the Winklevii are filing with the Supreme Court now:

http://www.webpronews.com/winklevoss-twins-to-file...


Fluffy77 profile image

Fluffy77 5 years ago from Enterprise, OR

Great review of this movie, I just saw it and I do believe you got it right on the head. I found it pretty nasty too in many ways. Still, if this is how it happened they did a great job of acting it all out.


jainismus profile image

jainismus 4 years ago from Pune, India

Interesting. I yet have not got opportunity to watch this movie, but now I will buy a CD if it is available here in our city.

Thanks for sharing, voted up.


Worldofwow1992 profile image

Worldofwow1992 4 years ago from Michigan

I loved this movie. Take away the aspect of real life betrayal I find it was put together very well. Great review!


TycoonSam profile image

TycoonSam 4 years ago from Washington, MI

Thanks for writing a review on this movie. I haven't seen it yet but I'll watch for it on Netflix.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 4 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Sure thing, TycoonSam. I'd also skip buying Facebook stock!

LOL

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