October 5, 2010

The Social Network: Fact, Fiction and Facebook

Justin and I went and saw The Social Network on Sunday night. I've been waiting for it to come out, and had it on my list of the top 13 movies I wanted to see this fall. In case you've been under a rock, the movie is the story of Mark Zuckerberg and how Facebook was created. It simultaneously follows the creation of Facebook and two trial that followed, in which Zuckerberg was involved in two separate lawsuits pertaining to the creation of Facebook, ownership, and intellectual property.

I loved it. The story was told beautifully, and they captured the manic speed of coding in a way that almost put you inside Zuckerberg's head at certain points. When I saw Jessie Eisenberg in Zombieland, I thought he was another Michael Cera, but in this movie I think he proves his acting chops. Several spots in the movie had me on the edge of my seat or dropping my jaw. Justin Timberlake played Sean Parker, the creator of Napster and part-owner of Facebook brilliantly. Smart, but slightly crazed with a dash of paranoia for good measure.

It's really an amazing story if you think about it. For many of you reading this blog, Facebook is something you use every day, maybe even multiple times a day if you're like me. It's a part of my daily life that I don't even think about. I told Justin after the movie that I do remember when Facebook came out and I remember that my sister had it before I did because she was still in college, and at the time it was restricted to students. Now, I keep in touch with friends all over the country and world with Facebook, and it allows me to maintain relationships that would certainly be lost without it. Can you even imagine being the person behind such a profound change in social interaction?

I'm also amazed by computer programming. I watch Justin sit and write code, and it's literally another language that I have almost no knowledge of. Sometimes I feel amazed that he just has all that inside his head, and can create programs and web pages and games.

The main question I'm left with after reading a little bit more is why Zuckerberg was portrayed in the light he was. I have no question that he's probably somewhat anti-social or socially awkward, I think that goes with the territory of being so amazing at the things he is amazing at. However, I left the movie thinking 'Wow, that guy is an a-hole." Today I read several articles that made me wonder why Eduardo Saverin, his former best friend and past CFO of Facebook, was portrayed exclusively as a victim in the film, as were the Winklevoss brothers.

An article at Business Insider points out that Saverin is currently worth at least $1.1 billion due to his help in creating Facebook, and you can read more in another article that describes some things NOT portrayed in the movie, like how Saverin partied when he was in New York, and used Facebook early on to advertise for his own newly formed company/website without discussing it with Zuckerberg. There's also an interesting article about the Winklevoss twins and some background information about their time at Harvard. You can also check out their list of the 10 Most Glaring Lies in "The Social Network."

I found the articles a little surprising just because in the movie, it's very one-sided. It looks like Zuckerberg is the bad guy, uncaring about anyone else and basically walking around screwing everyone over. And while that may or may not be partially true, there seems to be more to the story than just one side. There's also no mention in the movie of the fact that Zuckerberg has a long time girlfriend he met at Harvard. If you're interested in peeking into his (super down-to-earth seeming) life, check out videos from Oprah, he was on last week and you can watch it on her website.

I think this is an important movie, and despite what was left out, it told an interesting story about the passion and drama behind something that has changed our world. I'd highly recommend it to almost anyone out there.


Jamie said...

Thanks for the review. I really want to see this (but I'll probably wait for Netflix or something. We NEVER go to the movies). It looked really good and Dh and I are into all of that nerdy stuff. And, of course, Justin Timberlake (my alternate husband should things ever sour with Big Daddy) is in it. Which helps.

Seattledad said...

Wow, sounds like a cool movie. I had no idea it was serious. I thought it was another comedy.

Thanks for the review.