Plot: Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) has been drinking and now he’s blogging, bitter over being dumped by his girlfriend over dinner, thanks to his cold, arrogant approach to the relationship. As he derides his ex, he also has the idea to create a website that allows you to compare women and vote on which is more attractive. This proves to be quite popular, but lands him in hot water for the obvious social consequences, not to mention hacking into various Harvard databases. His work on the site does draw the attention of a group of students looking to create a social site of their own, one exclusive to Harvard attendees. But while he is supposed to be working on that project, instead Zuckerberg pursues his own vision, which builds on existing social media outlets to create a new, more expansive option. The Facebook becomes a massive success, but in the wake of that success, burned bridges, lawsuits, and broken friendships abound, with Zuckerberg in the middle of it all.
Entertainment Value: Based on the book Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, this movie might not be the most accurate take on the real life events, but it is a masterpiece of cinema. This is a razor sharp, highly polished picture that just shines on every level, making The Social Network a movie I can revisit often, just to watch it all unfold time and again. The narrative is always interesting, but it feels much more kinetic and magnetic than it likely should, thanks to Aaron Sorkin’s script and David Fincher’s incredible direction. I never would have guessed a movie about Facebook could be this good, but it sparkles across the board, even in Fincher’s remarkable resume, this one stands out. The kinetic texture is all the more impressive given how the film is all about dialogue, with all the scenes centered on discussions and exchanges, yet the pace remains brisk and never relents. Even at two hours of constant dialogue, The Social Network never loses its stride and keeps you hooked in, thanks in part to a sharp, polished visual design, no doubt. I think this is one of the rare movies where all the tumblers fall into place and The Social Network ends up as a masterwork, easily one of the best movies of its era.
As I said above, the visuals, writing, and direction are superb in this one, but the cast also shows up to throw heat here. Jesse Eisenberg’s turn as Zuckerberg is excellent and earned him an Oscar nomination, capturing the real life Facebook kingpin’s presence to eerie levels. He is great from start to finish, but he has some moments where he just knocks it out of the park, even in small, one line deliveries. I think the mediation scenes really showcase Eisenberg’s being in the zone here, as his line delivery is flawless and he nails the Zuckerberg vibe in those moments. Andrew Garfield is also great and brings a much needed emotional counterpart to Eisenberg’s cold persona, with the two sharing some highly memorable exchanges. The dynamic is just on point between the two, you can feel the connection the two share, which makes the events all the more powerful as the narrative progresses. Justin Timberlake has a prominent role as well, bringing the Napster douche bro Sean Parker to life in colorful fashion. The cast also includes Armie Hammer, Dakota Johnson, Rooney Mara, and Rashida Jones.