Magazine article The Christian Century

The Social Network

Magazine article The Christian Century

The Social Network

Article excerpt

The Social Network

Directed by David Fincher Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Timberlake and Andrew Garfield

David Fincher's The Social Network, with a script by the monarch of machine-gun banter, Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing), is a smart, funny film that tells the story of how Facebook came into being. It's a comedy of manners about a desperately uncool Harvard undergrad who creates the most popular club in the world and declares himself president.

Jesse Eisenberg plays Mark Zuckerberg, who has been denied entrance to the most coveted Harvard clubs, probably due to both his lower-middle-class background and his chilly, aggressive personality. He and his friends, who were only able to pledge the sole Jewish fraternity on campus, don't have a chance at dating the most attractive girls. When Mark's Boston University girlfriend (Rooney Mara) breaks up with him, he gets drunk and delivers his revenge, an acrid post about her on his blog.

The same night he hacks into the Harvard computer system to access photos of every woman at Harvard and designs a game called Facemash that allows male users to rate them. The stunt earns him a suspension but brings him to the attention of three Harvard aristocrats-identical twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (both played, wittily, by Armie Hammer) and Divya Narendra (Max Minghella)--who are attempting to devise a computer-based social network. They hire Mark to supervise the technology. Instead of completing the assignment, he constructs his own version, which becomes an instant success. Leaving them in the dust is his way of one-upping these self-proclaimed "gentlemen of Harvard."

Mark lacks a moral compass; he's Sammy Glick--the acquisitive, social-climbing antihero of Budd Schulberg's classic novel What Makes Sammy Run?--with a Harvard pedigree. Eisenberg, who generally plays likable schnooks, gives a brilliant performance, using his open, earnest baby face to suggest layers of resentment and a steely resolve that struggles to tamp down unresolved adolescent longing. Mark is both impossible to warm up to and impossible to hate.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The sympathetic role falls to the gifted Andrew Garfield as Mark's best friend Eduardo Saverin, who bankrolls Facebook and is thrilled when overnight he, Mark and another partner, Dustin Moskovitz (Joseph Mazzello), become magnets for desirable women--the kind that never used to acknowledge their existence. …

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