The Social Network could be career defining for Jesse Eisenberg

By the time I had joined Facebook it was already passed the stage were it was only available to college students. Now it’s even more readily available to folks than it was when I got on board. It feels as though literally everyone has a Facebook profile. It’s much more than a social networking website. It’s a cultural phenomenon. Facebook is a bonafide business and one worth billions.

The Social Network, from director David Fincher, is the story about how Facebook got its start. Created in a Harvard dorm room by founders, Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), the site quickly exploded with over 500 million users and a few lawsuits.

Who actually came up with the idea of Facebook seems to be what’s under investigation here. Fellow Harvard students Cameron and Howard Winkelvoss and Divya Narendra claim Zuckerberg tricked them into thinking he was creating their site while he was actually stealing their idea. Zuckerberg says one guy that makes a chair can’t sue everyone else that makes a chair.

Whether the facts and events are one hundred percent accurate, I don’t know, nor do I care. What I do care about is how The Social Network stands on its own as a film, and it stands very well. Fincher was able to create a film, along with writer Aaron Sorkin, that is nothing short of marvelous and easily one of the year’s best.

Zuckerberg is played perfectly by Eisenberg in what could be a career defining role. Despite what many are saying, I found that The Social Network actually shows Zuckerberg as a good guy. While he may come off as a jerk from time to time and seem condescending, he’s not doing it on purpose. He just tends to overanalyze things and situations. When asked a question that others might see as simple and harmless, Zuckerber may look into it too much.

Sometimes I think people fail to realize how hard it is for some people to interact with others. Zuckerberg seems to have that problem, in large part because of how smart he truly is. Eisenberg is superb at portraying this and I wouldn’t be shocked in the least if he earned an Oscar nod for doing so.

Justin Timberlake also stands out as Sean Parker, co-creator of Napster, and the one character I felt was noticeably a bad person. Parker seems to be all about the money and extravagant lifestyle and he doesn’t care who he has to step on to live that way. It’s Its because of Parker’s actions and influence that Zucerkberg ends up removing Saverin from the company and turning their friendship into a  mess that ends in a lawsuit.

Fincher’s direction here is his best to date. There’s a rowing scene in particular that, while it has little to do with the overall plot, is shot beautifully. Fincher’s visuals along with the excellent score from Trent Reznor make this scene jump out like none other.

With strong supporting performances from Rashida Jones and Brenda Song adding to overall perfection of the film, The Social Network is definitely a treat. I could go on and on about how great this film is, listing all the individual performances and nuances that made it so, but the only way to truly understand it, is by getting out there and experiencing it for yourself.

Chris Coffel

My name is Chris Coffel from Phoenix, Arizona. I love film and the Phoenix Suns. I write movie reviews for Trashwire and write about the Phoenix Suns for Downtown Phoenix Journal. I’m also the co-host of a movie podcast focusing on fringe cinema, the Dark of the Matinee. Please subscribe to my show on iTunes.

I write about the Suns here: downtownphoenixjournal.com
I make movies here: youtube.com/phxpro
I talk about movies here: facebook.com/darkofthematineepodcast

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2 Responses

  1. Sabrina says:

    But Sean Parker’s advice to Mark was solid. He told him not to sell his company, to drop “The” from the title, and to catch the big fish rather than rely on cheezy ads. I’m not sure he is the “bad guy.” After all, he helped expand Facebook to two continents in its early stage. He clearly influenced Mark to be the smart business man that has become. And he did it because there was no one to mentor him when he started Napster, so he had to learn the hard way and on his own. He helped Mark avoid the pitfalls that derailed him. Of course, he had his own demons that were still eating away at him, even as he was helping Mark Zuckerberg make a name for himself. But it’s hard to label someone a “bad guy” who actually gave the founder of Facebook some great advice.

  2. Chris Coffel says:

    His advice may have been solid, but at no point was Sean Parker giving advice to help Mark Zuckerberg, in my opinion. Parker saw an opportunity for him to cash in on someone else’s idea and did what he had to to do just that. Lots of people can give good advice and still be “bad guys.” My point is that Sean Parker is and was certainly more of a bad guy in this film than Mark Zuckerberg. And again, this is all based on how the characters are portrayed in the film, has nothing to do with what may have really happened in real life.

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