I'll admit it – I'm a Facebook addict. So when I heard that a movie about how Facebook grew to have 500 million members was in theatres, I was thrilled.
From the very first scene, The Social Network pulled me in and kept ahold of me for the entire 120 minutes.
The movie didn't keep us waiting long before getting into how Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook, came up with the idea for the website. Zuckerberg (played by Jesse Eisenberg) is obviously a computer genius and an expansive thinker. His people skills may be lacking but he makes for a character we root for. As Zuckerberg gets Facebook growing from one university to a dozen to a hundred to everyone worldwide, we get taken along on the ride.
While I wouldn't consider myself a Justin Timberlake fan, he did a superb job playing the role of Sean Parker. Parker became a member of the Facebook team as it was spreading across the Atlantic Ocean to include universities in Europe. Parker brought a greater vision to Facebook than even Zuckerberg probably ever had and took the website into another realm of expansion. One could argue that Parker took Facebook from an American non-advertising website to a global one with paid advertisers; numerous, wealthy, profit-making advertisers. Whoever cast Timberlake as Sean Parker made an excellent choice.
The second leading character after Zuckerberg is Eduardo Saverin (played by Andrew Garfield), the Chief Financial Officer of Facebook. He was a part of the project from the beginning and provided all of the money Zuckerberg needed to get the website up and running, perhaps all of it until Facebook became profitable. Like quirky Zuckerberg, Saverin is a lovable character, flawed yet one we grow to empathize with. When he is standing in Zuckerberg's laundry room, dripping wet from waiting in the rain for Mark to pick him up at the airport – which he never did – and we see how far apart the two men are, we feel for Saverin who has worked his butt off for Facebook since day one.
My heart actually broke for Saverin when, through a series of documents and conniving actions by others, he is ousted. Even as a bystander to the story, you feel the blade of the knife in your back, too.
The majority of the movie takes place as Zuckerberg is sitting in board rooms with his legal team and two different parties that are suing him. The first is Eduardo Saverin, the ex-CFO, and the second is a trio of men from Harvard who believed Zuckerberg stole their idea for Facebook. The movie is made up of flashbacks as the lawyers, defendant, and plaintiffs hash out the story of the creation and growth of Facebook.
The movie wraps up all the story's loose ends, a nice change from films that leave things hanging for the viewer to fill in the gaps. They update us on how the lawsuits turned out, where things stand with Facebook now, and point out that Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire on the planet due to the website he created.
Two Thumbs Up
I highly recommend The Social Network. Don't look for much action or a deep romance but the story, the character development, and the entertainment factor are all top notch.