GUEST POST BY KATE BARNELL

School: Montgomery High
Dream School: University of British Columbia
Favorite TV Show: “Dexter,” “The Office”
Favorite Comedian: Bo Burnham
Idol: Barack Obama

“The Social Network”

Directed by David Fincher

This post was first published Oct 11, 2010. The film is now out on DVD.

Columbia Pictures’ “The Social Network” immediately intrigued me with its portrayal of the behind-the-scenes motives and tactics of a company on its way to big business, a company so relevant in teenagers’ (like my own) lives. The film exhibits how a simple idea between friends and colleagues can turn into a $600 million lawsuit. “The Social Network” illustrates how the popular social networking site “Facebook” came to be—from the initial logarithm to the abrasive multi-million dollar contracts.

Jesse Eisenberg plays Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s co-founder. In his dorm room one night, mildly intoxicated and newly single, Zuckerberg frames Facebook’s foundations. To generate a site pushing male students to compare female students’ faces on their attractiveness, he hacks into Harvard’s residence hall databases and downloads female names and pictures—creating “FaceMash”.

FaceMash is an instant sensation, causing enough traffic to crash Harvard’s servers, thus awarding Zuckerberg six months’ academic probation. This, however, also attracts three students searching for an extraordinary programmer: Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (Armie Hammer) and Divya Narendra (Max Minghella). Zuckerberg agrees to help with their idea of a similar site, Harvard Connection.

Zuckerberg approaches his friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) soon after with an idea called “The Facebook”—a networking site exclusive to Harvard students. The new site takes off like FaceMash did, and that aggravates the Harvard Connection Founders. They think Zuckerberg committed intellectual property theft by stealing their idea. Zuckerberg eventually decides to expand to other universities—further infuriating Narendra and the Winklevosses. Zuckerberg eventually faces serious legal conflicts.

The film begins with a dynamic duo, Zuckerberg and Saverin. Zuckerberg displays intelligence in both technology and business strategy. Even though Zuckerberg loses his friendship with Saverin through the process of becoming a billionaire, he displays true creativity and resourcefulness. At one point, Saverin, however, does receive the worst of the bargain—as Zuckerberg and his partners diminish his share of Facebook to less than one percent. This is essentially the final straw for Saverin, as he proceeds to sue.

Zuckerberg eventually becomes the youngest billionaire in history, provoking moral questions such as, “Is billion-dollar success as valuable as natural, legitimate friendship?” “The Social Network” preeminently develops Zuckerberg’s witty and stubborn, yet honest, personality – revealing the unfortunate decline of a legitimate friendship as the monopolistic force of business overpowers true human bonds.

***

Thanks, Kate. I think this is one of the year’s best films.

Here’s a trailer. Beware, it starts with almost a minute-long collage about Facebook before getting to the film. But it gives you a good feel for the movie once you get past the slo-o-o-o-w start.