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The Social Network, a film by David Fincher

Thursday, 18 November, 2010

Chantal Pierre-Packer goes in search of the story of social networking

It may be the thing that keeps you up at night and the thing that you cannot wait to go and check.  If you aren’t on it, you feel that you need to be on it and you crave the view over and over.

“Facebook me” is as common a phrase as “Hoover the stairs”.

People upload their lives onto it, invite people to events or form communities of people with similar views or interests.  There is a vast array of games on too, some of which seem quite addictive.  With game progression reliant on completing tasks or having a certain number of ‘friends’ and new items to be found, there is a lot of general fun to be had.

If you are out in the real world and see a tree or piece of grass and think, “click to harvest” (users of a certain farming game will understand), you may just be using it a touch too much.

But whatever your interest, there’s no denying that Facebook is a worldwide phenomenon.  That’s why The Social Network works.  Facebook is fascinating so why not watch a film about it to inspire you to achieve your dreams also?

The story starts with Facebook founder Zuckerburg in the present day, in a room undergoing court proceedings being sued by various people, over the site.  The film is a series of flashbacks, which go through his time at Harvard, secret societies, wild parties, friendships and all that’s in between.

Facebook came to life, according to the film, because Zuckerburg and his friends wanted to be in the cool crowd.  The Facebook site was sent to the right kind of people and not too long later it became a global phenomenon.

Jesse Eisenburg plays Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook.  Andrew Garfield plays Eduardo Saverin, Zuckerburg’s friend, who had a dispute over financial matters with him, over Facebook.  Justin Timberlake plays Sean Parker, the co-founder of Napster and the President of Facebook.

Jesse Eisenburg portrays Zuckerburg as a social misfit blessed with a high intellect.  Usually, he just says what he thinks without regard for the consequences.  Cue girlfriend break-ups and hurt friends.

Andrew Garfield plays Saverin as the cooler half of the pair.  He has the manner and the moves to make it all look better to those outside their circle.  Justin Timberlake is Sean Parker. He gives Facebook its gloss and glamour to make it all cool.  He is cool; he is well connected and gets the things in motion that need to happen if Facebook is to reach its potential.  But his involvement has varied results, not all positive.

This is a well conceived film that is well delivered.  It is entertaining and fun and makes you think about your own ambitions and how to make your dreams comes true.

The focus is on friendship and loyalty, and what happens when these things are forgotten in favour of more superficial monetary values.  It’s a good night out.

Status update: saw The Social Network today.  I clicked to *like* it :o)

(c) Chantal Pierre-Packer 2010

reviewed Tuesday 9 November 2009 / Notting Hill Coronet, London

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