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Nordling's THE SOCIAL NETWORK review

Whoever coined the phrase “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” should have added an addendum: “Scorn a dude, and he builds the railroads.” In the opening scene of THE SOCIAL NETWORK, Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) is going through a break-up with his girlfriend Erica Albright (Rooney Mara) that catches him completely off guard. He’s miles ahead of her in the conversation, and she’s struggling to keep up; not because she’s not intelligent, but because Mark couldn’t care less. He’s narcissistic to a fault, and she ends the relationship with the line, “You’re going to go through life believing that girls don’t like you because you’re a nerd, and I want you to know from the bottom of my heart that that’s not true. It’ll be because you’re an asshole.” The break-up devastates Zuckerberg, but we’re never sure if it’s because he genuinely cares for Erica or just if his ego can’t take the rejection. It’s the most important scene in this brilliant film because it sets up what follows: Zuckerberg, in a drunken rage, blogs about the break-up and then hacks into the various houses on Harvard campus and posts pictures of their female members to be judged by the rest of the student body. Dubbed, it gets the attention of everyone, including the Winklevoss twins, Tyler and Cameron (Armie Hammer, with a body double for Tyler by Josh Pence) and their business partner Diyva Narendra (Max Mingella). They have an idea for a network for Harvard students, but when Mark hears about it, he sees the potential for something more, something bigger. So, with the help of his best friend Eduardo Severin (Andrew Garfield), who has the money and the connections on campus, Zuckerberg decides to create the ultimate social network, to encapsulate the college experience, and runs with it. Other people and groupies begin to enter Zuckerberg’s orbit, including Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake), inventor of Napster and now entrepreneur, with his connections in Silicon Valley. And as the Facebook becomes more popular throughout college campuses across the United States, Zuckerberg begins to test the relationships around him – of his best friend, and of the Winklevoss twins (at one point he derisively calls them “Winklevi”). This is all going to end with lawyers, billions of dollars, and the invention of what’s probably considered the largest social network on the Internet. When the trailers for this film debuted, most people wrote this film off. “That Facebook movie,” as it was called, didn’t seem like interesting subject matter, as if the film would just be a bunch of nerds sweating over their laptops. But THE SOCIAL NETWORK is so much more than that: it’s a snapshot in time, of the years in the Aughts, and even now, where an idea well executed could reap dividends beyond your wildest imaginations, as long as you got there first. It reminded me, oddly enough, of AMERICAN GRAFFITI, as a moment in time perfectly captured by David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin’s amazing script, where each word is a perfect pearl from an oyster. I can’t stress enough how great this script is: it’s got cadence, wit, and from the opening scene it expects the audience to keep up with the turns of the plot and the characters. I miss being treated like a grown-up in the movies, and this film does exactly that. Fincher’s direction feels almost effortless, a confident film by a master filmmaker at the height of his game. I can’t say whether or not this is his best film because I don’t know what impact this film will have on those who watch it. When FIGHT CLUB became the rage it took a while to set in as well, although most people wildly misinterpreted that film. What I can say is that he’s made a film here that has no wasted scenes, that has incredible acting, and that moves like a high-speed train without a dull moment. Jesse Eisenberg should be recognized for his work here. His Zuckerberg is all armored up, but the cracks in the façade show the wounded man beneath. It’s because of his work here that the film is getting comparisons to CITIZEN KANE – we’re constantly looking for what drives him, what motivates him, and Eisenberg never quite lets us see what’s behind the curtain except at key points in the film. Andrew Garfield should put to ease any trepidation fans have about him playing Spider-Man. He’s wounded as well, from a trust betrayed and a friendship lost. Justin Timberlake digs into Sean Parker with relish; I imagine it must have been a particular joy for him to play the man who defanged the music industry as an unrepentant scumbag. There’s not one bad performance here at all, in fact – you’d think that the casting of Armie Hammer to play both roles of the Winklevoss twins would be some kind of trick, but you forget about the special effects of it all in less than a second after they take the screen. Don’t let the subject matter dissuade you from seeing this. It’s rare you get to see a classic film moment as its happening. THE SOCIAL NETWORK is an important film, a funny film, an entertaining film, and it’s not nearly as much work as you might think it is. Comparisons to other classic films are, in their way, pointless – THE SOCIAL NETWORK is very much a film of its time and it has captured a moment of history – that happy accident when the power of creativity met the ambitions of a man who wanted nothing more than for a girl to like him. - Nordling

Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 24, 2010, 11:08 a.m. CST


    by ValMcKee

    too bad its for this...

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 11:13 a.m. CST

    I really enjoyed the film...

    by NorseFire

    The acting is fantastic and Sorkin did a great job.

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 11:16 a.m. CST

    What is the Facebook you speak of?

    by DangerDave

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 11:17 a.m. CST

    Never Had a Doubt!

    by Sluggolicious

    Fincher's involvement guaranteed and entertaining flick. Can't wait.

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 11:36 a.m. CST

    Seriously, you've got Sorkin and Fincher

    by slone13

    I was sold months ago.

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 11:37 a.m. CST

    One friend likes this

    by Kraven Morehead

    There are too many talented people involved in this for it to not be at least watchable. "W" is the only movie that comes to mind that deals in such immediate history. With that said, I'm still waiting on a film that deals with the creation of the website

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 11:48 a.m. CST

    And I still have no interest

    by miss_marples

    Fucking Facebook...

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 11:52 a.m. CST


    by Grendy

    good job! Nice encapsulation of the film and your reaction to it. It's not like we needed to be warned about spoilers, and I like reviews that talk about performance as much as story.

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 11:59 a.m. CST

    Fight Club will forever be Finchers masterpiece

    by HopkinsBalls

    It can't be beaten...

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 12:06 p.m. CST

    That line will hit a little close to home with a lot of us

    by terry1978

    Because we've been conditioned to just assume that chicks that turn us down are doing so because of superficial reasons.

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 12:16 p.m. CST

    Can't Wait!!!

    by The Dark Nolan

    Gotta be a Best Picture front runner from what I've read.

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 12:18 p.m. CST

    Can't wait for the MySpace movie.

    by Domi'sInnerChild

    Don't studio's always develop movies in pairs?

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 12:37 p.m. CST

    Imagine if M. NIGHT directed this movie?

    by Xxplosive

    It'd be five hours of slow whispering dialogue with, of course, himself in the role as Eduardo. Just a hideous thought I'd put out there.

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 12:58 p.m. CST


    by HarryKnowlesNonExistentInceptionReview know, that faggy internet thing filled with pics of douchebags and douchettes holding drinks and smiling stupidly with their heads pressed together? That one.

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 1:59 p.m. CST

    Why would I ever give a shit about this movie?

    by MelGibsonsRacialTirade

    I dont care if this movie is good...I dont give a shit about the fucking nerds who made Facebook, esepcially when all they did was ripoff Myspace. Why are movies made about mongoloids? I will NEVER see this.

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 2:10 p.m. CST

    The movie will rock the planet

    by HopkinsBalls

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 2:18 p.m. CST

    I'm still waiting for the Pac Man movie

    by RPLocke

    Get on it assholes.

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 2:28 p.m. CST

    Rich whiney losers...

    by knowthyself thanks.

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 2:52 p.m. CST

    by RashHunt

    Haha I love it when poor people hate on movies they haven't seen.

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 2:58 p.m. CST deserves a movie before this does

    by MelGibsonsRacialTirade

    Ditto Captain Stabbin...and blacksonblondes.

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 2:59 p.m. CST

    RashHunt no one is "hating" on the movie

    by MelGibsonsRacialTirade

    We're hating on the fact that a movie was made about nerds who made Facebook. As I said - I dont give a fuck if it's a good movie or not. The plot doesnt interest me at all. Every day another nerd steals an idea and makes a fortune on the internet. Why should I care about these nerds who stole MySpace and re-named it? Theres absolutely nothing interesting about it.

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 3:46 p.m. CST

    Awwwwww, a movie was made about people you're jealous of

    by frozen01

    This is getting a little old. All the reviews are saying it's well-written, engaging, entertaining, well-acted, and enjoyable. I doubt they'd be saying that if there was "nothing interesting about it". So stop whining because you think it's about "another nerd". The movie isn't about Facebook, it's not about making a fortune on the internet, or stealing another website. Maybe it's about greed, getting caught up in your creation, or the destruction of the self in the search for power and popularity. "I don't give a fuck if it's a good movie or not" says it all, though. <p>You prejudged the movie because you heard it was "about Facebook", you assumed it would suck, and you were wrong. Get over it.

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 4:16 p.m. CST

    Yeah, you got me with Aaron Sorkin

    by palimpsest

    So sue me. Though I reckon SE7EN is a far better film than FIGHT CLUB, even Fincher's duds (BENJAMIN BUTTON, PANIC ROOM) are at least interesting duds. I don't give a shit about the social networking site at the middle of this, but I'm sure as hell seeing the movie.

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 4:38 p.m. CST

    they shoulda called it The Anti-social Network

    by DioxholsterReturns

    or am i living in 1997?

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 4:56 p.m. CST

    Do Research Before Quoting

    by Count Screwface

    No biggy.. just misquotes are like top 5 pet peeves. William Congreve wrote "Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, nor Hell a fury like a woman scorned." There may be a few capitalizations I missed but, yeah, now you know the real quote. Oh happy day.

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 5:18 p.m. CST

    Microsoft and Apple are worth 100 times more than Facebook

    by BetterCallSaul

    and all they got was a crappy TV movie. The only reason The Social Network was made because Facebook is popular at the moment, so it has a certain curiousity factor.

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 5:29 p.m. CST

    by DioxholsterReturns

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 5:31 p.m. CST

    its the concept of facebook and its popularity that made this fi

    by DioxholsterReturns

    theres youtube or twitter but none have impacted peoples lives more than facebook. i wish china buys it in the future and uses the info for whatever purpose.

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 5:42 p.m. CST

    Craigslist deserves a movie

    by DioxholsterReturns

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 5:44 p.m. CST

    TWITTER! starring Jimmy Fallon, Lindsay Lohan, and Justin Bieber

    by MrMysteryGuest

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 5:51 p.m. CST

    Google deserves a movie my gosh

    by DioxholsterReturns

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 5:52 p.m. CST

    Gizmodo deserves a movie

    by DioxholsterReturns

    after the iphone prototype fiasco

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 5:55 p.m. CST

    JoBlo deserves a movie

    by DioxholsterReturns

    haha fuck AICN

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 5:56 p.m. CST

    AMAZON deserves a movie in 3D

    by DioxholsterReturns

    to see the Amazonic visuals

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 5:59 p.m. CST

    STARGATE deserves another movie

    by DioxholsterReturns

    fuck the haters that movie is a cult classic

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 6 p.m. CST

    4chan deserves a movie

    by DioxholsterReturns

    a horror movie

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 6:01 p.m. CST

    ok i get it, but...

    by jameskpolk

    For me to care about the characters, I have to care about what they are doing. Since I don't, I can't, so this movie will never work for me.

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 6:11 p.m. CST

    The Enemy has started school

    by DioxholsterReturns

    his homework is keeping him busy.

  • Sept. 25, 2010, 10:12 a.m. CST

    How do most people misinterpret Fight Club?

    by Nerd Rage

    How do you open that can of worms then just leave?

  • Sept. 25, 2010, 11:08 a.m. CST

    AIN'T IT COOL? ...starring Seth Rogan as Harry Knowles

    by MrMysteryGuest

  • Sept. 25, 2010, 11:10 a.m. CST


    by MrMysteryGuest

  • Sept. 25, 2010, 12:07 p.m. CST

    “You’re going to go through life believing...

    by AsimovLives

    ... that girls don’t like you because you’re a nerd, and I want you to know from the bottom of my heart that that’s not true. It’ll be because you’re an asshole.”<br><br>Words to put the terror inthe hearts in all nerds and geeks everywhere. And it might just cut too close for confort to all of us in here. ALL OF US! I'm sure David Fincher put it in his movie because it also speaks to his heart as well. If there will be anything in this movie that might change my life, that will be it. No longer i think nerds and geeks are innocent victims in a cruel society. Thank you, movie, thank you.

  • Sept. 25, 2010, 12:10 p.m. CST

    Nerd Rage

    by AsimovLives

    When FIGHT CLUB opened, in USA at least, the vast majority of the people, including critics, severely misunderstood and misinterpreted FIGHT CLUB. for soem reason, evne though it's quite hammered in the head by the movie, people miss the fact that the movie is A FUCKING COMEDY! Science is yet to explain how the majority of americans fail to understand that. But then again, Bush Jr was elected by a majority less then a year later. I guess mindless dumbness was all the rage of fashion back then.

  • Sept. 25, 2010, 2:30 p.m. CST

    This movie..

    by JamesGANDERPeek

    Will push the careers of all involved, I have 100% faith in it. This, jackass, Harry potter and tron legacy will take this year for me. Not speaking for anyone here but this isn't a "facebook movie" its a social commentary.

  • Sept. 25, 2010, 3:19 p.m. CST

    LOL@Dioxholsterreturns thinking hes being funny.

    by JamesGANDERPeek