It’s finally here, the much anticipated, much-talked-about film geared toward the Facebook generation. It’s the Facebook movie. It’s The Social Network.
One would wonder why a film about the beginnings of Facebook was ever made. Well, there’s a book about it called The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal, by Ben Mezrich.
It also stands to reason that Facebook has become such a phenomenon that many people would be interested in its beginnings.
As a member of Facebook since 2006, I can say with confidence that I was interested in its origin. So were millions of others, judging by the film’s #1 spot at the box office.
The Social Network is about the inception of Mark Zuckerberg’s idea to create Facebook and his motivation to do it in the first place. The film also addresses the irony that Zuckerberg gains 500 million friends and loses the one true friend he ever had. The overall theme of the film being friendship, Social serves as a bit of a cautionary tale that fame and money can’t buy you real friends; those are free.
Director David Fincher appears to have hit the nail on the head in this film. He taps into the brain of his characters, mainly Zuckerberg, played by Jesse Eisenberg, and Eduardo Saverin, played by Andrew Garfield. You see their motives clearly without any hesitation. But, the best part of the film is that mid-way through the story you find out that it is as much about Zuckerberg as it is about Saverin, his friend, financier and original CFO of Facebook.
But I can’t give all the credit just to Fincher. Award-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin had a considerable hand in the overall tone of the film. Sorkin interviewed many people involved in the making of Facebook to arrive at the story. Now, when asked, Sorkin doesn’t admit to Social being a true story. Moreso, it’s a recounting of events from the different perspectives of the people who lived the events.
Eisenberg’s performance is exceptional in that he never breaks character and says those things that most people wish they could say. Zuckerberg comes off as having a Gregory House personality. The major difference is that Zuckerberg isn’t a jerk because he doesn’t care. He just has bad social skills, which is odd for the main character of a film called The Social Network.
Even though Social is Eisenberg’s world, the one that steals the show is Garfield’s Saverin. He is the put-upon, realistic, somewhat wealthy friend whom Zuckerberg basically uses to his own end. He helped to start the famed site through his financial, intellectual and business savvy. It was he who kept Zuckerberg grounded. If only he had not been slowly, but surely, pushed out by Napster founder, Sean Parker, played by Justin Timberlake.
Timberlake’s performance is decent as the man who changed the way we buy music. At first, Parker seems like the type of person whom you would want to know. But, like Saverin, I am always skeptical of those people who talk too much of a big game every time you talk to them. Parker is way too over-the-top not to be trying to get over on Zuckerberg. But Zuckerberg, craving to be just like Parker, doesn’t see it. In the words of my late Pastor Charles, Zuckerberg “can’t see for looking.” He can’t see the forest because he’s too busy looking at the trees.
It’s a shame that Zuckerberg let Parker drive a wedge between himself and Saverin, using the almighty dollar to do so. But haven’t we seen these stories time and again? People are always a different animal when there’s money involved, whether they stand to gain it or lose it — not to mention as long as a person has money, he or she will have many friends. Your true friends are those who are there before you have money and still there when the money is gone.
Sadly, Mark Zuckerberg, according to The Social Network, was so driven to be a popular person with lots of friends that he lost himself. As the old adage goes, “Money can’t buy happiness.” Nor can it buy good friends. Hopefully, that’s the message theater goers come away with. If not, there’s always the book version to drive it home.
Kimberly Grant may be reached at KAliciaG@aol.com.
Photo By Merrick Morton/Allmoviephoto.com
The Facebook movie: Left to right, Andrew Garfield, Joseph Mazzello, Jesse Eisenberg and Patrick Maple in ‘The Social Network.'