True friends stab you in the front

Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) isn’t an asshole. It’s just that he’s just trying so hard to be. Well, that’s one of his lawyers’ opinions anyway. The rest of the world seems to have reached a consensus. Lord knows the people suing him have.

You’re probably familiar with the name Mark Zuckerberg. You probably even followed a link from Facebook to get to this article. Zuckerberg created Facebook. Isn’t it something that the man who created an online social network that would eventually bring millions of people together would himself be so socially inept? Well, that’s the opinion of The Social Network, anyway. How much of the film’s story is true is a matter for debate. How good it is is not.

The Social Network presents Zuckerberg as a hot bed of unfocused, genius ideas. He’s all creative id. His mind is constantly racing, leaving his girlfriend to complain that he “says two things at once and she’s not sure which one to aim at.” She says this shortly before informing him that girls dislike him because he’s an asshole, not because he’s a nerd. Then, she dumps him. There’s that consensus.

After crashing Harvard’s network with a website he designed while getting drunk and simultaneously blogging about what a bitch his ex is, Zuckerberg gets the attention of the Winklevoss brothers (Armie Hammer. Yep, just Armie. Fincher’s a wiz), two well-off athletes and entrepeneurs looking to launch a Harvard-exclusive social network called The Harvard Connection. The idea couldn’t be any duller to Zuckerberg, but there are certainly a few gems in there and, with the finances of best (and only) friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), he’s able to utilize them on his own social site, the future Facebook.com.

Whether or not you think Zuckerberg stole the idea for Facebook or that he owes Eduardo some serious green (and perhaps a sincere apology), the ensuing lawsuit becomes far more fascinating for its personal implications than its legal ones. He is so madly focused on his own ideas that all others either have to get on the train or get run over by it. One guy who decides to take the ride is Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake), founder of Napster and party animal extraordinaire. You get the sense that Zuckerberg is as enamored with Sean’s social skills as he is with his business savvy, probably more so.

I simply cannot end this piece without mentioning the dialog. It is phenomenal and not winning the Best Adapted Screenplay would be a travesty. In fact, that Best Editing Oscar should get thrown into the mix for making all of that fast-talkin’ coherent. Aaron Sorkin’s script is like its protagonist: miles ahead and not interested in slowing so you can catch up. Get on the train or get off the tracks.

The Social Network is nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Jesse Eisenberg), Best Cinematography, Best Directing, Film Editing, Music (Original Score), Sound Mixing & Best Adapted Screenplay

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