“The Social Network” – Fan or Flop?

By Amanda Bala

The Delicious Marketing staff recently took a fieldtrip to see The Social Network, a film by screenwriter, Aaron Sorkin.  This utterly engrossing movie details the birth of the social media giant we all know today as Facebook.  You have to be living under a rock to not know what Facebook is.  We know that it has changed the world.  From interpersonal relationships to marketing, buying and selling, Facebook has a toehold in it all.  But how did this come to be? 

The Social Network takes us through Harvard student, Mark Zuckerberg’s (played by Jesse Eisenberg) idea to take the social experience of Harvard and turn it into a website.  The story is told via flashbacks of two separate law suits filed over the rights to Facebook. One lawsuit is filed by Zuckerberg’s best friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) who supplies the startup capital, only later to be manipulated in a way that he loses most of his stock in the company. The second suit is filed by Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss and Divya Narendra three seniors at Harvard.  The Winklevii twins and Narendra seek out Zuckerberg’s programming expertise to assist them in building a website called the Harvard Connection.  They accuse Zuckerberg of intentionally misleading them into believing he would help them build their site while all along stealing their ideas to build a competing website.

The movie takes the viewer through a range of emotions.  You feel for all those involved and many times over change your mind about who is right and who is wrong.  The one thing that you certainly take away is that although Zuckerberg became a billionaire from the creation of Facebook, he truly ends up alone because of his creation.  The loss of personal relationships is heartbreaking as you watch the story unfold.  The irony that Facebook is a site built on friendship and personal relationships, but that these seem to have no place in Zuckerberg’s own life, is certainly not lost.

The outstanding acting performances are what truly make this a great film.  Jesse Eisenberg, who portrays Mark Zuckerberg, does a phenomenal job of taking a character that is dark and narcissistic and making you feel empathy for him.   He turns what could be a very unlikeable character into someone that you can understand, although his awkwardness and complete lack of social skills will make you cringe at times.  You can see what drives and motivates him even if you do not agree with the decisions he makes.  Andrew Garfield plays Zuckerberg’s best friend, Eduardo Saverin.  He is a business major who is the complete opposite of Zuckerberg.  Outgoing and likeable, he is the one you find yourself rooting for.  It is heartbreaking this somewhat naïve kid’s trusting nature is ultimately his downfall.  Justin Timberlake does an admirable job of portraying Sean Parker, the inventor of Napster, who works his way into Facebook and ultimately changes both the company and Zuckerberg and Saverin’s friendship and lives.  Finally, Armie Hammer does a fantastic job of playing both Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, delivering one of the best lines in the film.  When arguing that they should go and beat up Zuckerberg for stealing their idea, Tyler states, “I am 6 foot 5, 220 pounds and there are two of me”!  Hammer does an admirable job of making you like this privileged twosome who do somewhat get taken by Zuckerberg in the movie.

Overall, this was a great film with many complex lessons and underlying messages.  It will keep you thinking long after it ends about the social media complexities that are such an integral part of our lives today.  It is a must see for everyone of this generation.

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