Ed "Likes" 'The Social Network' 

PG-13, 4 stars

The Social Network deals with the creation of Facebook, but that's not what the movie is about. It's about being dumped by a girl because she thinks you're a creep, and then proving she's right. It's about simmering resentment over not being one of the cool kids, followed by bursts of angry creativity. It's about not being able to really connect with other people, and what happens when you try to build a system that will allow you to connect with people online.

Facebook is the result of all that. It's an invaluable tool for self-promotion, finding old friends, learning what happened to schoolmates, passing information in a timely fashion and seeing who can come up with the best quip. It's also the place to go for endless cocktail party chatter, with who-cares proclamations ("Heading to Taco Bell for a flatbread chicken sandwich") followed by are-you-kidding-me comments (Pat Fogle: "Yum!," Geoff Tatum: "Where's mine?," Marty Glass: "Now you've got me hungry!," ad infinitum).

So Facebook is a social network created by a young man not able to really connect with other people that is frequently used by people with the same problem.

The film is directed David Fincher (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Fight Club, Se7en) with a screenplay by Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing) based on Ben Mezrich's book, The Accidental Billionaires – The Founding of Facebook, A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal. ("What a cumbersome title. Was he being paid by the word?" 7 people like this. Sam Smith: "LOL!" Mary Li: "Wish I had his money!" Pete Taylor: "Me too!" Latoya Martin: "Don't forget to share!").

The movie looks great and, thanks to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, sounds great as well. When I first saw Reznor's name, I feared he might get carried away with his industrial angst sounds, but the score both sets and echoes the tone of the story very well.

Jesse Eisenberg (Zombieland) stars as Mark Zuckerberg, the Harvard student that made it happen. He's brilliant with computers but not so hot with humans. After his girlfriend Erica (Rooney Mara) breaks up with him ("Dating you is like dating a stairmaster!"), he writes an ugly blog entry about her and whips up a "Which Girl is Hotter?" website using photos of Harvard women hacked from other sites. It's a big success, making him the object of admiration for his skills and disgust for his misogyny.

Long story short: Mark gets recruited by twins Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss (Armie Hammer) and their partner Divya (Max Minghella) to program a Harvard dating site, but he fails to deliver, instead teaming up with his pal Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) for a new project called "The Facebook." Later, Napster co-founder Sean Parker, beautifully played by Justin Timberlake ("Dick in a Box") enters the picture and all hell breaks loose as Facebook grows and relationships flounder.

The film is framed by lawsuits, with flashbacks telling the tale. Fincher presents the story effectively – even as it grows more complex, it remains easy to follow. The cast is excellent, with the humanity of the characters being the strongest asset of the production. There are no traditional leading men here – the outgoing Sean Parker comes closest, but his self-absorbed nature and aggressive pettiness keeps him believable. Even the Winklevoss twins, the most cartoonish characters in the story, are fleshed out just enough to make them believable. Aside from Erica, you don't hear much from women. This is a boy's story and though these boys are obsessed with women, they have few encounters of substance with them.

Will The Social Network work for those unfamiliar/uninterested with Facebook and online life in general? I think so – this is most certainly a story about smart, angry people, not programs. But after the screening, I heard some guys talking and one of them said, "I tried to get into it, but I just couldn't keep up with all the technical talk." I suggest you don't let the computer-speak put you off. There's far more than that going on in the film, which is one of the best I've seen so far this year.


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Chicago Reader The Best Movies of 2010 Carlos, Enter the Void, Dogtooth, and more by J.R. Jones 12/16/2010
Colorado Springs Independent Now a major motion picture! From orphaned owlets to Fincher's Facebook, here's a fall preview of book-to-movie adaptations. by Scott Renshaw 09/09/2010
Indy Week Pondering the 600 million in Facebook's global village The nation that for the last 50 years has defined its "dream" as a house in the suburbs where no one can bother you is now spending more and more of its spare time letting everybody back in. by Gerry Canavan 09/29/2010
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Tucson Weekly We Like This 'The Social Network' is yet another masterpiece from director David Fincher by Bob Grimm 10/07/2010
Indy Week Facebook gets its movie, courtesy of Aaron Sorkin and David Fincher The irony is this tech-led revenge of the nerds ends up succumbing to the same trappings of ambition, entitlement and narcissism, as well as emulating the very social caste system they rebel against. by Neil Morris 09/29/2010
East Bay Express The Social Network and the "F" Word The billionaire geek who invented Facebook (The Social Network) meets the juvie outcasts of the living dead (Let Me In). by Kelly Vance 09/29/2010
The Coast Halifax Logging into The Social Network The Facebook-based film brings a high IQ, without preaching a social discourse on its network. by Hillary Titley 10/07/2010
Portland Mercury Profile Picture The Social Network: David Fincher does not want to be Mark Zuckerberg's friend. by Erik Henriksen 09/30/2010
Boise Weekly The Projector: Movies opening Friday, Oct. 1 A protective vampire; an Australian crime family; something from Fight Club's Fincher; a dive becomes the place to be; teens and their virginity; Oliver Stone's long-awaited Wall Street sequel; and the high-school bully finally gets what's due to her. It's all at the movies. 10/01/2010
Indy Week Futzing with Facebook by JP Trostle 09/29/2010
Creative Loafing Atlanta Catfish, Social Network refresh our ideas about Facebook Snappy, engrossing movies provide status updates of the online zeitgeist by Curt Holman 09/24/2010
Charleston City Paper The fall 2010 book-to-movie preview Whether the result is good, like The Road, or absolutely horrible, like Ramona and Beezus, or just another dang adaptation of a Jane Austen novel, it's once again the season for filmmakers to turn a notable book into the next great (or terrible) film. Here are some of the lesser-known novels coming to your multiplex before year's end. (As always, release dates are subject to change.) by Scott Renshaw 09/08/2010
Memphis Flyer Facebook, Official David Fincher crafts a great film on an allegedly unlikely subject. by Chris Herrington 09/30/2010
Colorado Springs Independent Face-plant: The Social Network Life and all its weird facsimiles come at us so quickly nowadays, which is partly why you know you want to see The Social Network anyway: to process. by Jonathan Kiefer 09/30/2010
Indy Week Aaron Sorkin handles the truth Sorkin on the drive behind Facebook and those who created it, on the allure and trappings of social media, and on why he decided to option Andrew Young's book about the John Edwards sex scandal and cover-up by Neil Morris 09/29/2010
Colorado Springs Independent Opening this week The Social Network, Let Me In, Case 39 and more. 09/30/2010
Charleston City Paper The founders of Facebook get in a Poke War The Social Network feels like a strange and satisfying blend of two worlds. On one hand, it's a classic Hollywood screwball comedy where brainy dialogue ping-pongs with dizzying speed between über-brainy Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and his equally tongue-lashing prone peer group. "Dating you is like dating a Stairmaster," quips his exasperated Boston University girlfriend Erica Albright (Rooney Mara). by Felicia Feaster 09/29/2010
Chicago Reader The Price of Privacy In The Social Network, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg learns a thing or two about it. by J.R. Jones 09/30/2010

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