The Social Network FTW
I was fortunate enough to go to a sneak preview of The Social Network last night. Of course the theater was packed and, not surprisingly, the majority of the people in the theater were from the “Facebook generation.” While I would consider myself part of that generation in theory (Facebook came out during my junior year of undergrad and University of Michigan was one of the earlier schools to get the program), I realized that the kids in the theater had actually grown up with Facebook. They were the kids that had access to Facebook once it went public and was no longer an exclusive networking site to colleges. A lot of them do not really know of a time before Facebook and that freaks me out.
I will start this review by stating that I hate Facebook. I use to love it, don’t get me wrong, but I have since realized a lot of my social insecurities/problems come from this site. For so long I spent hours on that site and, as a result, knew everything about everyone. That’s not always a good thing. People can easily fib and exaggerate and say things that make you think a little less of them. I love that Facebook allows me to keep in touch with people from high school and earlier that I would otherwise have probably never heard from again. However, Facebook was a time-suck and an obsession for awhile (on top of an excellent stalking tool which is not really a good thing) and now – not so much a fan.
This fact is important because it prevented me from really wanting to see this film. The only reason I went to this screening was because it was free and I figured that I should see this film eventually…and, I mean, who passes up a free film. Man, was I wrong. This film deserves all the hype. The writing is extremely well done (I mean, c’mon, Aaron Sorkin…who would have expected less?) and the acting is phenomenal. David Fincher once again rocks as a director (with one complaint from my boyfriend that I will get to later) and, despite all the teasing he gets, Justin Timberlake did a great job.
There isn’t really a way to “spoil” the film since we all kind of know what the end product of the film is but I will try to keep plot points to a minimum. FIrst off, the script. Aaron Sorkin has never really let me down, to be honest. Sports Night is one of my favorite TV shows of all time and, I mean, all I need to say is The West Wing. He’s had a few hiccups in his career but overall he is a master with wordplay. I had a slight problem with the beginning (after Zuckerberg created Facesmash) because I found myself confused with all the litigations they were showing at the same time. However, my boyfriend pointed out, that was kind of the point. We were meant to see from the get-go that Zuckerberg screwed a lot of people over in his rise to fame and his legal problems started early.
Acting. The best part of this movie is that the screenplay was brilliant and the actors were able to make it even better. Jesse Eisenberg owned the role of Mark Zuckerberg. I haven’t seen Zombieland (thus making me a horrible nerd) so I had very little experience with this actor but I can’t say a single negative thing about his performance. He was so good that in spite of the fact that Mark Zuckerberg is clearly an asshole and screwed over a lot of people, by the end, you understand him. At the very end of the film I didn’t think Zuckerberg was so much an asshole but rather, just socially inept. He clearly has/had no idea how to deal with people and was so motivated by the idea of being “cool” that he didn’t bother to learn. Obviously others can disagree but that is the brilliance of Eisenberg’s performance. It’s so good that, in the last scene, I was more fascinated with Zuckerberg than angry with him.
Wow this review is going to be long. Even better than Eisenberg was Andrew Garfield as Zuckerberg’s former business partner Eduardo. Garfield is set to play the new Peter Parker (in case you are as out of the loop as I am and did not know) and I have complete faith that he will rock it. He is far from just a pretty face. I have not seen a ton of young actors with the ability to bring tears to his eyes without crying and without it seeming forced. Rather, he just looked sad and disappointed and overwhelmed with emotion. By the end, it’s just amazing that this kid full of good will and kindness was best friends with Zuckerberg. You are devastated when Zuckerberg screws him over and just want to give him a hug :).
As for Justin Timberlake, that man makes me so angry. How can someone be that talented? It’s just not fair. Not only is he an excellent dancer, he has an amazing voice and is a very capable actor. He was not as fabulous as Garfield and Eisenberg but that would be kind of difficult to accomplish anyway. Nevertheless, he definitely held his own in the midst of these actors and, by the end, I was definitely not seeing him as “Justin Timberlake” but rather as Sean Parker, a truly messed up, confused man who had too much fame happen too early in life.
Finally, David Fincher. I love his work. I can’t really say much more than that. Zodiac is easily one of my favorite films (regardless of how long it is) and Se7en is a horror/thriller masterpiece as far as I’m concerned. A lot of the credit for the amazing acting must go to him because he was able to put together a cast that just made sense together. The one critique I have heard about this film is that the ending is similar to a lot of Fincher endings. It just…ends. There isn’t a clear or definite conclusion or a distinct moment where you knew the film was coming to an end. That being said, it is not like there can be a clear ending to this story as it is still occurring. We don’t know the final impact/ending to Facebook or Zuckerberg. We know that he is the youngest billionaire in the world and that Facebook is…well, Facebook. That is my answer to that criticism but I won’t argue that this critique is entirely invalid.
Honestly, I’m sure when I see this film again I will find a few more flaws but right now I am riding on the, wow…that film was a lot better than I expected it to be. The music by Trent Reznor was appropriate and awesome. The cinematography was beautiful. There weren’t a lot of girls in the story but, in reality, there aren’t a lot of girls in the actual story of Facebook anyway. There is a lot of humor and a good majority of the film had the entire theater laughing, in spite of the awkwardness of watching Zuckerberg screw everyone over. It is just a really strong, fun film, and that’s just awesome to see considering there haven’t been a ton of them out lately. One person did say they liked The Town more but I can’t respond to that because I haven’t seen it yet (although I’ve heard nothing but excellent things about Affleck’s directing). Anywho, I could say more but this is far too long as it is. I hope you enjoy the film when it comes out and please please come back and respond if you have things to criticize that I didn’t list. Regardless, anyone who has used Facebook at some point in their life should go see how this behemoth started and anyone who has been confused as to why Facebook is such a big deal should go see why, exactly, this social networking site is so important to our generation.
PS – The boys that played the Winklevoss brothers were also really well cast and did an amazing job but, again, way too long of a review already 🙂
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