The film begins in 2003 at Harvard University. After an argument, Mark Zuckerberg’s (Eisenberg) girlfriend Erica (Mara) breaks up with him. Zuckerberg, a genius in website making decides to do some online escapades to vent. After writing negatively about Erica on his blog, he creates a site called FaceSmash with the help of his friend Eduardo (Garfield). The site compares the beauty of women from Harvard and eventually ends up crashing Harvard’s internet by having so many people visit the site.
This leads to two wealthy Harvard brothers, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, contacting Mark to build a Harvard communication site called CollegeU. Mark agrees, but takes the idea to another level. Instead of creating CollegeU, Mark, with the help of Eduardo, creates a site called ‘thefacebook.’ This begin to spin out of control though as the creator of Napster, Sean Parker (Timberlake) contacts Mark and begins to move in as an adviser which begins to push Eduardo to the side.
“The Social Network” takes place in the proverbial present day, dealing with Mark facing a number of lawsuits, both from Eduardo and the Winklevoss twins. After establishing the lawsuits taking place, the movie then explores Facebook’s creation through a series of flashbacks.
This formula is a familiar one in storytelling, and it happened to work very well in this film. As the picture weaves together the story of the website’s creation, the audience is able to see reactions from different characters regarding the process. By doing so, more depth is added to the film because one can witness how the creation of a website became personal.
As for the acting, Eisenberg likely delivers his best performance to date in the picture. The movie portrays Zuckerberg as a person who gets into a ‘zone’ and sometimes can ignore the feelings of those around him. Eisenberg perfectly portrays this, delivering his dialogue in a way that showed his character’s razor sharp focus.
Coming out of nowhere with a fantastic performance was Timberlake, whose character was both egotistical and at the same time paranoid. Timberlake has a fantastic execution, representing both of these aspects. This was especially important since both aspects play a large part in influencing both Mark and Eduardo.
Along with the performances, credit also has to be given to Aaron Sorkin, who wrote the screenplay. What works about this element of the movie was how humanizing Sorkin was able to make it. Even with having a movie dedicated to the creation of a website, there was real emotional weight that was felt.
Thanks to all these pieces coming together, “The Social Network” is easily one of the better movies of the year. 4 out of 5.