Perhaps fittingly, a movie about a social networking site in which you gain friends, focuses on crumbling relationships and making enemies. “The Social Network” depicts the rise of Facebook, from its humble beginnings in a Harvard dorm to a multi-billion dollar company. Humble, however, is not a word to use in describing its creator, Mark Zuckerberg.
Young actor Jesse Eisenberg portrays the main character Zuckerberg as he alienates many, while becoming a hero to millions. In the initial stages of the sites creation, Zuckerberg and his Facebook team are on top of the world, but they slowly fall into a tumultuous battle.
This is a movie about the rise of Facebook, but it’s the story of the relationships behind it that you take away from your viewing. The narcissistic attitude of Eisenberg’s character is displayed throughout, often to the point of being justified by his genius. His people skills are clearly lacking, perhaps because he is always the smartest man in the room. Zuckerberg’s inability to handle relationships is introduced in the first scene of the movie with an altercation between him and his girlfriend. This carries over into his relationship with his friend and business partner Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield).
The movie eventually starts to go back and forth between a present and past setting; the present being Saverin suing Zuckerberg for backhandedly cutting his percentage of ownership in the company. This coincides with Zuckerberg being sued by twin brothers, Cameron and Tyler Winkelvoss (both played by Armie Hammer), for allegedly stealing their idea for a social networking site similar to Facebook.
The conflict between Zuckerberg and Saverin develops quickly due to differing ideas about the direction of the company. The introduction of Napster creator Sean Parker, played by Justin Timberlake, furthers this rift, as he is the one person that holds the power of influence over Zuckerberg. The power of money and fame is a theme of the movie, and the corruption that it can include. The movie relates to our inner desires for success and unimaginable wealth, but tempers it with the reality of those things holding the potential to change you for the worse.
The creativity of the movie’s design is its ability to portray the characters in both positive and negative lights, which gives the viewer the opportunity to make their own determinations about them. The film takes a character in Zuckerberg, who by many rights deserves no sympathy, and gives the viewer the opportunity to feel sympathy for him. The viewer that focuses on his arrogant attributes will find no pity for Zuckerberg, while others will see a genius mind trapped in the body of a boy forced to grow up fast.
“The Social Network” is a movie I would recommend to those who are serious about film, as well as the casual viewer. It reaches a wide range of audiences, and pulls on the viewers emotions from an array of directions. The story of the billionaire only recently a teenager would seem to be a fairy tale, but this movie depicts a much different story.