The Social Network (12A)

Film

Drama

The Social Network.jpg

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Oct 12 2010

Director David Fincher (‘Fight Club’, ‘Zodiac’) and writer Aaron Sorkin (‘The West Wing’, ‘A Few Good Men’) have made a mischievous, scaremongering tale about the origins of Facebook that combines the talky rigour of Sorkin’s writing with the spooky crispness of Fincher’s imagery.

It launches us headfirst into an intense exchange between two students, Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and his girlfriend Erica (Rooney Mara), sitting in a Harvard bar, opposite each other, nursing beers. You can hardly call it a conversation. She speaks smartly and normally; he avoids eye- contact, talks through her, responds selectively and, when the chat doesn’t go his way, needily asks: ‘Is this real?’

It’s a brilliant scene: on its own because it says so much about the filmmakers’ spin on Facebook founder Zuckerberg and the limits of interaction that his invention seeks to plaster over, and in the context of the work as a whole because it tells us straightaway that this is a film about a creeping void between people, whether or not they’re lovers, enemies, business partners or Facebook friends. It’s a savvy prologue to a story of how a perfect storm of social inadequacy, Ivy League exclusivity and computing genius inspired a global phenomenon.

The film makes its case instantly that Zuckerberg is a social disaster and sticks to that line as it moves from the wood-pannelled college dorms and snowy cloisters of Massachusetts to the trendy bars and hip offices of Palo Alto, CA. We meet Zuckerberg as he develops various student sites until he hits on TheFacebook.com, which he runs with friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), who is more suave, less awkward and the bridge between Zuckerberg and Harvard’s exclusive student clubs – a world from which he feels bitterly excluded.

As Facebook grows, Zuckerberg moves to California, seduced by the real-world, nerd-made-good charms of Napster’s founder, Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake, smart casting), who offers Zuckerberg informal membership of another club, a world of investors by day and parties by night. Not that Zuckerberg is a party animal; he just likes to feel part of something, like Facebook users, browsing photos for vicarious pleasure.

Eisenberg gives a storming performance as Zuckerberg, complementing his geeky clothes (hoodies, flip-flops) with a perma-deadpan voice, wildly roving eyes and a jolty physical presence. He’s full of contradictions: socially awkward but confident; ignorant of commerce but ruthless in business.

Essentially, the film is a series of flashbacks built around more recent legal shenanigans: the two depositions that resulted from accusations that, firstly, Saverin was unfairly ousted from Facebook and, secondly, that Zuckerberg stole his idea from two Harvard contemporaries, the Vinklevoss twins (Armie Hammer eerily plays both). These meetings, and Zuckerberg’s unco-operative presence at them, give the film a sober framework, but otherwise it’s a chronological tale, fast, furious and funny.

There’s no escaping that ‘The Social Network’ sticks the knife into Zuckerberg and milks for all it’s worth the irony of a disconnected soul connecting the world. We should be cautious and remember this is Fincher and Sorkin’s spin on the truth, grounded in fact but stretched and moulded to suit their themes. But what makes the film more than a witty, well-performed hatchet job that’s plugged cynically into the technological zeitgeist is that, despite the fun of the parties, the intrigue of the legal wranglings and the humour of the dialogue, Fincher and Sorkin never let us forget that we’re complicit in their story (or at least 500 million of us are). If, as the film argues, Zuckerberg’s values are mirrored in Facebook, what does that say about us? If we jab our finger too wildly at Zuckerberg, all we’ll get is a very sore eye.
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Release details

Rated:

12A

UK release:

Fri Oct 15, 2010

Duration:

121 mins

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:3
  • 4 star:6
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|28
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cm

nicely cast but rather dull film; a well known story choc-full of cliches and name dropping. clumsy.

cm

nicely cast but rather dull film; a well known story choc-full of cliches and name dropping. clumsy.

Thomas Noctor

What an idiot Mark is, a sneeky back stabber! Onto the film, too much hype, lazy ending, would have liked to see the court proceedings instead of just reading about it at the end. Good performance from Justin Timberlake but the film was a bit boring and went off track a bit at times, if there was no hype then maybe this could have got a 3 from Me, but the disapointment yet again of an over hyped movie gives it a 1!

Thomas Noctor

What an idiot Mark is, a sneeky back stabber! Onto the film, too much hype, lazy ending, would have liked to see the court proceedings instead of just reading about it at the end. Good performance from Justin Timberlake but the film was a bit boring and went off track a bit at times, if there was no hype then maybe this could have got a 3 from Me, but the disapointment yet again of an over hyped movie gives it a 1!

John Cooper

This film has been well received by film critics . . it's a very cerebral film .. as are most film critics . . . the main characters are nerds .. . as are most film critics . .. so you have to take this in account when reading reviews. That said, it is an engrossing film which gets to grips with the originators of facebook, . . .and effectively takes you into the WASP world of Harvard in Boston USA where Eisenberg gives a convincing performance as the head-centred computer genius Zuckerberg, descibed as an `asshole` ( with some justification ) in the opening scene. This is an extremely intelligent film, and quite a head-trip, although the director throws in some shapely interns as groupies for the fast-fingered computer geeks, What is interesting about this film is its spin on the power games and legal wranglings of the main protagonists . . .. and its refusal to set any moral parameters for its anti-heroes . . . Zuckerberg makes some progress . . . but at the end of the film . . is still `an asshole` ( albeit a very rich asshole) Definitely worth seeing, but too narrow in its scope to be the great film that some film critics would have you believe.

John Cooper

This film has been well received by film critics . . it's a very cerebral film .. as are most film critics . . . the main characters are nerds .. . as are most film critics . .. so you have to take this in account when reading reviews. That said, it is an engrossing film which gets to grips with the originators of facebook, . . .and effectively takes you into the WASP world of Harvard in Boston USA where Eisenberg gives a convincing performance as the head-centred computer genius Zuckerberg, descibed as an `asshole` ( with some justification ) in the opening scene. This is an extremely intelligent film, and quite a head-trip, although the director throws in some shapely interns as groupies for the fast-fingered computer geeks, What is interesting about this film is its spin on the power games and legal wranglings of the main protagonists . . .. and its refusal to set any moral parameters for its anti-heroes . . . Zuckerberg makes some progress . . . but at the end of the film . . is still `an asshole` ( albeit a very rich asshole) Definitely worth seeing, but too narrow in its scope to be the great film that some film critics would have you believe.

okjohn

I think this film beautifully demonstrates the 'Happy Accident', the 'Visiion', the 'Courage', the 'Sheer Grit' and the 'Energy, Passion and Sheer Determination' needed to become 'hugely successful'. I ABSOLUTELY loved it. Everyone always marvels at the huge sums of money involved, but that isn't the point of this film at all, any more than getting a perfect '10' would matter to someone who has just ridden out the biggest wave of his life...MARVELLOUS!

okjohn

I think this film beautifully demonstrates the 'Happy Accident', the 'Visiion', the 'Courage', the 'Sheer Grit' and the 'Energy, Passion and Sheer Determination' needed to become 'hugely successful'. I ABSOLUTELY loved it. Everyone always marvels at the huge sums of money involved, but that isn't the point of this film at all, any more than getting a perfect '10' would matter to someone who has just ridden out the biggest wave of his life...MARVELLOUS!

ALFREDO

IT'S NOT EASY TO MAKE A ZEITGEIST MOVIE. AND IT DOESN'T GET MORE ZEITGEIST THAT WHEN THE SUBJECT IS ONLINE SOCIAL NETWORKING. THAT WAS INDEED A CHALLENGE. BUT DAVID FINCHER KNEW HOW TO DEAL WITH IT AND THE RESULT IS A VERY GOOD MOVIE. AND AN EDUCATIONAL ONE TOO. WE DIDN'T KNOW, AMONG MANY OTHER THINGS, THAT MR. ZUCKERGERG WAS SUCH AN INSIPID CHARACTER FOR INSTANCE. BUT REALITY IS ALWAYS LESS GLAMOROUS THAN FICTION. THAT WE KNOW.

ALFREDO

IT'S NOT EASY TO MAKE A ZEITGEIST MOVIE. AND IT DOESN'T GET MORE ZEITGEIST THAT WHEN THE SUBJECT IS ONLINE SOCIAL NETWORKING. THAT WAS INDEED A CHALLENGE. BUT DAVID FINCHER KNEW HOW TO DEAL WITH IT AND THE RESULT IS A VERY GOOD MOVIE. AND AN EDUCATIONAL ONE TOO. WE DIDN'T KNOW, AMONG MANY OTHER THINGS, THAT MR. ZUCKERGERG WAS SUCH AN INSIPID CHARACTER FOR INSTANCE. BUT REALITY IS ALWAYS LESS GLAMOROUS THAN FICTION. THAT WE KNOW.

iLikeMovies

At JohnBailey, Sean Parker was the co-founder of Napster. Both Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker founded it. He was also involved with other things, but(like in the movie), he was too reckless. He partied too hard, and it killed his ability to work consistently. I would also like to point out that the film isn't a documentary. It's a movie, meant to entertain the viewers. Anyway, on to my review. The writing, directing, and acting were all great. The movie was really dramatic, which is good, but it could've used a bit of comedy. In fact, I went to the movie expecting to see Eisenberg and Timberlake joke around most of the time. However, like I said, the film is dramatic. It won't make you laugh much(if at all), but it will definitely make you think and it will definitely be one of the best movies you'll see for awhile.

iLikeMovies

At JohnBailey, Sean Parker was the co-founder of Napster. Both Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker founded it. He was also involved with other things, but(like in the movie), he was too reckless. He partied too hard, and it killed his ability to work consistently. I would also like to point out that the film isn't a documentary. It's a movie, meant to entertain the viewers. Anyway, on to my review. The writing, directing, and acting were all great. The movie was really dramatic, which is good, but it could've used a bit of comedy. In fact, I went to the movie expecting to see Eisenberg and Timberlake joke around most of the time. However, like I said, the film is dramatic. It won't make you laugh much(if at all), but it will definitely make you think and it will definitely be one of the best movies you'll see for awhile.

very happy film-goer

This is a fantastic film - it's complex and funny, and sad even. Performances are so believable, and the music is perfect, the way the story is constructed with the two legal cases and the flashbacks really works, I got so absorbed watching this the first time that I went back and saw it again the next day - and it was still totally absorbing and interesting. Bizarrely convincing special effects too - if I hadn't known it was the same actor playing both twins (from the neck up) I'd have thought it was two people. Amazingly done. Great film. Five stars.

very happy film-goer

This is a fantastic film - it's complex and funny, and sad even. Performances are so believable, and the music is perfect, the way the story is constructed with the two legal cases and the flashbacks really works, I got so absorbed watching this the first time that I went back and saw it again the next day - and it was still totally absorbing and interesting. Bizarrely convincing special effects too - if I hadn't known it was the same actor playing both twins (from the neck up) I'd have thought it was two people. Amazingly done. Great film. Five stars.

Paul

Really enjoyed the film, but no idea how fictitious the storyline is. Loved the characterisations and insights into FB creation. Packed cinema which is good and it wasn't 3D. Worth seeing for a good yarn and night out.

Paul

Really enjoyed the film, but no idea how fictitious the storyline is. Loved the characterisations and insights into FB creation. Packed cinema which is good and it wasn't 3D. Worth seeing for a good yarn and night out.

Marcia

In a year or so, it'll be interesting to see how much this movie cost to make versus what raked in through ticket sales and the first rush of DVD purchases. It's well cast - correction, very well cast, though I found Justin Timberlake's performance annoying. It's a bit long, almost as though the director had in mind the 2 hour mark as his ideal length movie, and stuck 2 fingers up by making it 121 mins for the hell of it. A couple of time it gets a bit boring, which is a shame. The story's good, as someone else said, it has some great lines. For a film that's just been released, and is about the current "big thing", it isn't particularly well attended.

Marcia

In a year or so, it'll be interesting to see how much this movie cost to make versus what raked in through ticket sales and the first rush of DVD purchases. It's well cast - correction, very well cast, though I found Justin Timberlake's performance annoying. It's a bit long, almost as though the director had in mind the 2 hour mark as his ideal length movie, and stuck 2 fingers up by making it 121 mins for the hell of it. A couple of time it gets a bit boring, which is a shame. The story's good, as someone else said, it has some great lines. For a film that's just been released, and is about the current "big thing", it isn't particularly well attended.

Carl

This movie is great for actually showing computers in a realistic manner, unlike nearly all Hollywood films. The plot is enthralling and the dialog has some great lines, acted well.

Carl

This movie is great for actually showing computers in a realistic manner, unlike nearly all Hollywood films. The plot is enthralling and the dialog has some great lines, acted well.

Mike

This is quite a good movie. Then again, given the vast amounts of $’s involved, the enormous legal fees racked up by everyone who knew this movies was being made, and that the trailers have been running for forever, it ought to be. This is a well-scripted, well-acted movie, and it manages to be funny in places, too. Do I think it’s worth 4 stars? No, certainly not. In places the story’s protracted and leaden. I glanced at my watch a couple of times. I appreciate the courtroom battles surrounding the story are infamous. Was the minute legal detail required? Nah. . I think this film might get a few Oscar nominations, but I’m not so sure about wins. Film industry marketing departments will now fill this page with rave “This story changed my life� / “Mark Zuckerberg’s my ultimate hero� style reviews.) For those who live through Facebook and think Zuckerberg should be canonised, don’t go expecting this story will change your life. Really, it won’t. No one comes out of this story looking good. This is a 3 star movie. I won’t be getting it on DVD when it’s released.

Mike

This is quite a good movie. Then again, given the vast amounts of $’s involved, the enormous legal fees racked up by everyone who knew this movies was being made, and that the trailers have been running for forever, it ought to be. This is a well-scripted, well-acted movie, and it manages to be funny in places, too. Do I think it’s worth 4 stars? No, certainly not. In places the story’s protracted and leaden. I glanced at my watch a couple of times. I appreciate the courtroom battles surrounding the story are infamous. Was the minute legal detail required? Nah. . I think this film might get a few Oscar nominations, but I’m not so sure about wins. Film industry marketing departments will now fill this page with rave “This story changed my life� / “Mark Zuckerberg’s my ultimate hero� style reviews.) For those who live through Facebook and think Zuckerberg should be canonised, don’t go expecting this story will change your life. Really, it won’t. No one comes out of this story looking good. This is a 3 star movie. I won’t be getting it on DVD when it’s released.