- Running time:
- 120 minutes
- Jesse Eisenberg -
- Mark Zuckerberg
- Andrew Garfield -
- Eduardo Saverin
- Justin Timberlake -
- Sean Parker
- Armie Hammer -
- Cameron/Tyler Winklevoss
- Max Minghella -
- Divya Narendra
Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) was just a 19-year-old Harvard student when he created the definitive social network site, Facebook. It made him the world’s youngest billionaire, but also spurred legal battles over just how many people deserve a piece of that fortune. His friend and co-founder Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) made financial investments critical for Facebook’s launch, only to get shoved aside when Zuckerberg partnered with more experienced Napster co-founder Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake); while fellow students Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss (twins played in a special effects-assisted turn by Armie Hammer, with body double work from Josh Pence) and Divya Narendra (Max Minghella) insist Facebook wouldn’t exist unless Zuckerberg ripped off their idea for a site called Harvard Connect.
The buzz: The Facebook figures are staggering—500 million-plus active users; one in every 14 people in the world. Making a movie about the birth of that kind of global phenomenon is a no-brainer, and the involvement of director David Fincher and writer Aaron Sorkin only heightens the anticipation for a genuinely great film. Based on a combination of Sorkin’s own digging and the research of Ben Mezrich, author of Facebook chronicle “The Accidental Billionaires,” the movie tries not to take sides in a he said-he said war over intellectual property, but does enough to make real-life Facebook executives slam it as “fiction.” Zuckerberg says he’ll never watch it.
The verdict: The rise of Facebook involves money, power, friendship and betrayal, but “The Social Network” is something far more personal than a sensationalized true story. If Facebook has redefined the ways we communicate in the 21st Century, Sorkin and Fincher respond with an ode to good old-fashioned conversation. This ideal synthesis of two artists’ distinctive styles is as fascinating, provocative, thematically rich, impeccably acted and beautifully crafted as expected.
The real surprise is that it’s also great fun, beginning with a screenplay that represents Sorkin at his very best—zippy, brainy, amusing, incisive. His dialogue is delicious. The verbal power plays feel like a natural extension of the socially maladjusted Zuckerberg’s desire to create a virtual world where he can be king. Maybe that’s something we can all relate to as we use Facebook to carefully craft how we present ourselves and our lives. Like Zuckerberg, we want to control how other people perceive us. But among the many questions “The Social Network” raises is this: If the man who created Facebook can’t manipulate his image exactly how he wants, what hope is there for us?
Did you know? Even if Zuckerberg refuses to see “The Social Network,” he’s on record as a fan of Sorkin’s work. This excellent New Yorker profile reveals Zuck listed and then removed Sorkin’s “The West Wing” from his favorite TV shows on his Facebook page. (It’s back up, at least for now.)
Movie theaters and showtimes for The Social Network in Des Moines.
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