The new movie about Facebook, called "The Social Network" is getting rave reviews across the nation.
And it is a very good fictional film based on the life of the socially inept Harvard student who started Facebook after his girlfriend dumped him in 2003.
"The Social Network" tells a fascinating story built on interesting characters and smart, rapid-fire dialog that is sometimes a challenge to keep up with.
My main reservation is that its whiz kid main character is so unlikable. Jesse Eisenberg stars as Mark Zuckerberg, a Harvard undergrad obsessed with social climbing and the internet.
"I need to do something substantial in order to get the attention of the clubs," he tells his girlfriend.
"Why?" she asks.
"Because they're excusive and fun and lead to a better life," he replies.
When he goes on to belittle her for going to Boston University instead of Harvard, she's had enough and breaks up with him right then and there. and that's when he goes online and writes some very uncomplimentary lines about her, and within a few days he creates what will become Facebook.
He hopes the new site will impress her, but no dice.
"You called me a bitch on the internet, Mark," she tells him.
That's why I wanted to talk with you, he says, interrupting her.
"On the internet," she repeats, "comparing women to farm animals."
Mark comes off as a lonely nerd whose main goal seems to be proving his worth to people he believes have slighted him.
But, ironically, the success of Facebook isolates him further... even from Andrew Garfield who plays his one good friend, Eduardo, the partner who puts up seed money for the site.
"They're saying we stole the Facebook web site," after looking at a letter Mark failed to show him.
"I know what it says," Mark replies.
"So did we?" Mark asks.
The other major character in this drama is Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker, the founder of the now defunct music sharing site, Napster. Sean is a scheming playboy who becomes Mark's mentor. "A million dollars isn't cool," Sean tells Mark. You know what's cool? A billion dollars!" And, of course, that remark proves prophetic.
the movie covers the first year of Facebook during which Mark gets sued by two Harvard brothers and by his former partner for 600 million dollars.
During a break in one of his depositions, Mark tells a friendly lawyer: "I don't hate anybody. the brothers aren't suing me for intellectual property theft. They're suing me because for the first time in their lives things didn't work out the way they're supposed to for them."
The writing by TV's Aaron Sorkin is very sharp. David Fincher's direction is crisp; the acting is convincing, and the story compelling.
Whether it accurately reflects the real Mark Zuckerberg is another question.
For me, "The Social Network" is a good film that should have been better. As written, Mark doesn't change at all of the course of the film, and by the end, I wanted to slap him.
Still, this movie is almost certain to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Picture.