Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Book to Film Review: The Social Network

About the film
The Social Network is a drama film that was released in 2010. The film has a run time of 120 minutes and a rating of 12A. The Social Network was adapted from the book The Accidental Millionaires by Ben Mezrich.

Set in 2003, Mark Zuckerberg is a student at Harvard University. On the night he gets dumped by girlfriend Erica, he heads back to his dorm to drink and write bad things about her on his blog. Feeling down, he also creates a website called Facemash which pins female students against each other so other students can rate who is the best looking. Due to the website being such a popular hit with other students, and the fact that it crashed the Harvard network, Zuckerberg receives six months academic probation. However, this alerts Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss who wish to create their own website, The Harvard Connection. While Zuckerberg agrees to help, he gets ideas of his own and ends up creating The Facebook, a social networking website for Harvard students.

The film follows the success of Zuckerberg and the lawsuits filed which accuse him of intellectual theft (from the Winklevoss brothers) and for unfair share dilution (by partner and co-founder Eduardo Saverin). The Social Network follows how Facebook came to be, how Sean Parker was a part of its success and what happened with the lawsuits.  

What I thought
I had wanted to see this film ever since it came out but somehow I never got around to it. Now, with my recent unemployment, I have more time on my hands than I would like so I finally decided to activate my free 30 day Love Film trial. The Social Network was the first thing I watched.

Facebook was something I didn’t get into myself until very early 2008 when I lived in Canada. A few of my friends there already had it and I decided it was a great way to keep in touch with them all once I had moved back to the UK. Facebook was something that I had known about for a while but had little interest in. Now though, with my family in Grimsby and me living in Norfolk and having friends all over the place, I am on it constantly even if it is only to play silly games. The reason why I wanted to see this film so much was to learn a bit more about the idea behind such a popular and massive website, which has taken over the internet.

Now, to begin with I have to say that I know not all of this film is factual. The real Mark Zuckerberg states that the filmmakers did not get everything right but was impressed that they got his wardrobe perfect. However, Eduardo Saverin acknowledges that the film is supposed to have entertainment value with a slight look into history which is how I see it.

The Social Network has a much faster pace than I was expecting it to. The film is two hours long as I was expecting it to drag quite a bit as I couldn’t think of what could happen in that time. However, from the initial idea of Facemash from Zuckerberg to the popularisation of Facebook, there is a lot that happens in-between. Jesse Eisenberg portrays Zuckerberg wonderfully, as he comes across as a socially awkward student. He’s quick talking and quirky and extremely clever. Eisenberg is an actor who plays these kinds of roles extremely well and this one is no exception. Zuckerberg isn’t a likeable character though. He quite obviously does what he wants and doesn’t care too much about what happens in the meantime as long as he gets results.

There aren’t actually many likeable characters in this film, save for maybe Eduardo Saverin who is played by Andrew Garfield. Saverin is the guy who co-founded Facebook with Zuckerberg and was the money behind the operation. He genuinely seemed to want to do the best thing for everyone and during the time spent covering the lawsuit, he did seem like a really nice guy who showed his feelings well when he realised things weren’t going his way/ Zuckerberg had said some pretty bad things about him. Every time Saverin suggested something, Zuckerberg either ignored him or shot down his suggestions which made me dislike him even more.

Although another unlikeable character, I couldn’t help but love Justin Timberlake’s involvement in this film. Timberlake plays Sean Parker, the guy who founded Napster and changed how people downloaded music. He’s arrogant, selfish and completely full of himself but I love watching Timberlake on screen. He has played quite a few different roles and is able to pull each of them off well. In one film, he’s like likeable romantic lead, in another he’s a complete asshole and then in another, he’s a bit of an action man. Justin Timberlake is someone I would have never imagined to be such a good actor. Parker’s role in the story of Facebook is a large one. He has a big influence over Zuckerberg’s actions and decisions as he believes Parker has a lot more knowledge and experience than he does.

As social networking is such a large part of society now, the film shows both the positive and negative aspects of it. It shows how a site such as Facebook can connect people all over the world but also cause so many relationship problems. I’m sure Jeremy Kyle would agree with that part! The film also recognises how success can alter a friendship thought to be quite strong. Zuckerberg is so quick to dismiss and stab Saverin in the back once he thinks he has better advice from Parker. It was quiet sad to see two friends in such a bad situation and for how things ended between them. In the end, it all came down to money.

The Social Network is a fantastic film which sheds light on the success of social networking sites in today’s society.         

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