Directed by David Fincher and written by Aaron Sorkin, “The Social Network” is a biographical drama illustrating how Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) founded Facebook and the lawsuits that ensued. The story is told through the recounting of events during two separate legal proceedings. Released on October 1, 2010, the film became widely acclaimed, and one scene of the movie was even filmed on Andover’s campus. Incorporating witty dialogue and fitting scores, “The Social Network” is a cinematic masterpiece, possessing every element of what creates a good movie.
The beauty of “The Social Network” is how screenwriter Aaron Sorkin masterfully threads the messiness of real life into Zuckerberg’s story, creating one coherent narrative. Sorkin never underestimates the intelligence of the viewer. The first five minutes of the film introduce at least three recurring topics: that dating Zuckerberg is difficult (“like dating a Stairmaster”), that Zuckerberg is not somebody who possesses great athletic ability (“not someone who would row crew”), and that he wants to join a final club (the last social club a student at Harvard University can join).
Sorkin’s dialogue is both witty and factual. In the film, Mark Zuckerberg is not intimidating in the least––in fact, he’s unbearable (the guy walks around in an Exeter shirt, after all)––and he talks at the speed of light. These characteristics are flawlessly introduced in the opening scene and are present in each scene after. Watch any two minutes of Eisenberg’s performance and you will be able to understand exactly who Zuckerberg is. Whether or not the portrayal of Zuckerberg is entirely accurate, Eisenberg’s execution feels distinctly human, the kind of character who is both a graceless sociopath and endearing genius.
The film’s humor also lands perfectly each time. It’s quick, witty, and it perfectly complements the fast pace of the storyline. Each punchline is not only cleverly written but also vibrantly performed. Most of the humor is cleverly placed in not only a line of dialogue but in exchanged looks, intermittent silences, and breaks in tense moments. When Gretchen, Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin’s lawyer, confirmed details about the funds Saverin had invested in Facebook, here was the exchange:
Gretchen: 18,000 dollars?
Eduardo Saverin: Yes.
Gretchen: In addition to the 1,000 dollars you’d already put up?
Gretchen: A total of $19,000 now?
Mark Zuckerberg: Hang on. [Mark sarcastically adds up the two amounts on his notepad.] I’m just checking your math on that. Yes, I got the same thing.
Zuckerberg’s interruption of a legal forum to mock the opposing lawyer breaks the tension of the scene and brilliantly illustrates Zuckerberg’s awful, cruel, hysterical humor.
Every good film has a good score, and in “The Social Network,” the score perfectly complements the mood of each scene. Sounds replaying in many parts of the movie enhances each scene by adding to the characters’ complex range of emotions. The occasional lack of music also helps to drive scenes. The montage of Zuckerberg and his friends creating Facemash, a site to compare Harvard undergrads against each other, is a perfect example. The aggressive and fast-paced piece “In Motion” encapsulates Zuckerberg’s excitement and impulsiveness, followed by the more mysterious piece “A Familiar Taste,” which reflects the extent to which their little scheme has gone. Although separate pieces, the familiar sounds between each of them help weave the scenes together.
This film’s fast pace, smooth editing, impeccable script, and strong acting all contribute to its rating of 5/5 stars. “The Social Network” is a beautiful movie, not because it is the story of Mark Zuckuberg’s past but because it is a story. The threads of real life do not weave in and out of each other the way they do in “The Social Network,” but it is because of this that the film becomes such a stunning cinematic experience. Watch this two-hour masterpiece, take the facts with a grain of salt, and prepare to be taken away.