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Jesse Eisenberg shines as awkward Facebook founder

You have probably heard about “The Social Network,” or as many are calling it, “the Facebook movie.” But even though it is known as “the Facebook movie,” it’s not really about Facebook. It is instead the story of how the website came to be and the drama that has surrounded it since its inception.

Imagine an average day in your life. You wake up, go to class, eat and do homework. Somewhere during that time you check Facebook, probably a few times, and mostly out of habit. Now imagine that life without social networking. It’s a little hard, isn’t it?

“The Social Network” tells a story of betrayal, sex, greed, acceptance and obsession. It is not a true and accurate account of Facebook’s history nor does it claim to be. Whether you choose to believe Mark Zuckerberg’s take on the story or acclaimed screenwriters Aaron Sorkin and Ben Mezrich’s take isis is up to you.

The movie is more about the characters behind Facebook than the site itself, it being the catalyst that moves the plot of the story forward as the characters interact and create the drama that makes the movie what it is, a modern day Greek tragedy.

Jesse Eisenberg stars as Zuckerberg, the creator of the social network. The movie begins with Zuckerberg and his girlfriend at a bar, talking over drinks. The dialogue is quick and multiple conversations are happening at once between the two, mostly about the exclusivity of clubs at Harvard and how Zuckerberg wants to be in them. The scene ends up portraying Zuckerberg as somewhat socially awkward, which is ironic considering he will soon be the founder of the most important social revolution on the Internet.

A scene between Zuckerberg and his girlfriend ends with his girlfriend breaking up with him, leaving him a little distraught before he finally runs back to his dorm room. He decides to get drunk to console himself and eventually gets the idea to create a website that rates the different girls of Harvard against each other, called FaceMash. This not only blatantly breaks the code of student privacy at Harvard, but also manages to crash the entire Harvard server in a single night.

After he is brought before the Harvard Administrative Review board, he is placed on academic probation. However, he also attracts the attention of the Winklevosses, twins played by Armie Hammer, who have a social networking idea for Harvard. They invite Zuckerberg to join in on this project, who upon hearing about it, takes the idea and spins it into something larger than the Winklevoss twins had ever imagined: The Facebook.

            If you have been following the controversy behind Facebook at all, you already know the rest of the plot, which is a back and forth between the two lawsuits against Zuckerberg. This includes Zuckerberg’s apparent betrayal of his best friend Eduardo Saverin, played by Andrew Garfield, due to his controversial partnership with Sean Parker, played by Justin Timberlake. Parker is the founder of Napster. The other lawsuit involves the Winklevoss twins, who claim that Zuckerberg stole their idea.

            The performances in the movie are outstanding. Eisenberg gives a fascinating [JP1] performance, portraying Zuckerberg as a [JP2] socially awkward, obsessive genius. He is put alongside Timberlake, who manages to portray Parker as a playboy, a businessman, and a classic case of paranoia[JP3] . Garfield’s performance as Zuckerberg’s best friend Saverin is fantastic as he showcases a true friend who has been hurt, betrayed, and forced into a situation where he has no choice but to take legal action against Zuckerberg.

            Director David Fincher, who also directed “Fight Club,” spearheads this project and gives the Facebook story a complete dramatization. However, he does not delve into what Facebook really is, only touching on the basic necessities that are critical for telling the stories of Zuckerberg, Parker, Saverin and the Winklevosses. Lawrence Lessig, founder of Creative Commons and a professor at Harvard Law School, said, “But what [the movie] doesn’t show is an understanding of the most important social and economic platform for innovation in our history.”

            “The Social Network” sets out to tell a story, and it does it well. With a highly energetic and character-driven plot, the movie is never boring and it keeps you interested in seeing the interactions between characters. The story is wonderfully written, with wit and intelligence throughout.

“The Social Network” is a movie worth telling your friends to see with you. Go take your network out to see it. It’s worth your time.

Tappan Parker can be reached at rtparker@student.umass.edu.

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