The Social Network

Rating: 3/4 (A good drama on the murky beginnings of Facebook)

Releasing in 2010, The Social Network is the first big-budget Hollywood studio movie about a software company. It is a sign of the times that such a movie revolves, not around IBM, Microsoft or Apple or even Google, but Facebook. The movie is based on the book The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich and portrays the murky beginnings of Facebook. It also felt ironic watching a movie about an Internet startup sitting at a theatre! 😉

In 2003, Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) is a geeky Computer Science student at Harvard, who is irritated because he has no access to the final clubs. He is pissed off one night when his girlfriend dumps him and in his drunken stupor he proceeds to insult her on his Livejournal blog and creates a website called Facemash, a Hot-Or-Not clone website where Harvard female students can be compared by their photos. Facemash becomes a hit and Harvard shuts it down. But, Zuckerberg’s notoriety attracts the attention of the Winklevoss twins and their friend Divya Narendra. This rich trio invite Zuckerberg to join their startup called The Harvard Connection, a social network exclusive to Harvard students. Zuckerberg agrees, but cheats on them by instead starting to work on his own social networking site called TheFacebook with financial help from his friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield). TheFacebook, later shortened to Facebook, takes off like no one imagined and Saverin’s friendship is tested when Zuckerberg brings on the flamboyant Sean Parker (founder of Napster) on to the team. Zuckerberg and Facebook are caught up in lawsuits with Winklevoss, Divya and Saverin and are forced to settle with all of them.

The script by Aaron Sorkin turns The Social Network into a movie about the most primal of human characteristics: love, greed, envy and wrath. The plot is dark and engaging, laced with sarcasm. The cinematography is delicious and the acting is spot on. Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake (as Sean Parker) are especially good. I also loved the background score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, lots of techie beats, Moby-like. The Social Network is a good drama on the murky beginnings of Facebook.

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2 thoughts on “The Social Network

    • Ashwin Nanjappa 2010-11-13 / 17:58

      Balaji: Quite a coincidence! I just finished reading up that awesome piece by Zadie Smith. That was much more than a review, raising some deep introspective questions on the effect of Web 2.0 on ours and today’s generation.

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