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'Social Network' accurate portrait of our generation

Katy Wagner

By Katy Wagner | Oct. 8, 2010

Tags: Music Social media

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It would be useless to ask you how many times you log into Facebook each day because a) this is a college campus, so the only people who don't check their Facebook upwards of 30 times a day are trying way too hard to be cool and b) it doesn't really matter.

Although it would be easy to say "The Social Network" is about the origins of Facebook, it would not really give David Fincher's newest masterpiece enough credit.

To brush past the easy answer, "The Social Network" follows Mark Zuckerberg and his friend-turned-business partner Eduardo Saverin from the conception of Facebook to the dizzying court battles surrounding its overnight success. Between tangles with future Olympic competitors, going into business with the founder of Napster and a nasty knife in the back, we watch Zuckerberg and Saverin's bizarre friendship crumble.

It's a little early to say Oscars will be doled out for "The Social Network," especially because the subject matter could easily turn off those older than 25. Regardless, you would be hard pressed to find a script this year that has been as clever as Aaron Sorkin's work here. Who could have known preliminary legal hearings could be so intense? Not only that, but the tangled web of depositions (three total, if my calculations are correct) never gets snagged, but builds on one another instead.

Although we all understand the script probably has a fuzzy notion of the truth, we also understand the truth is in the eye of the beholder. Sorkin's archetypal story surpasses fact and taps into a more universal truth: What (and who) would you give to be on top?

Jesse Eisenberg might have been known as the poor man's Michael Cera, but Eisenberg's turn as Zuckerberg smashes that thesis to pieces. Eisenberg's unwavering portrayal as the socially backwards, arrogant Zuckerberg is equal parts scathing and understanding, but never condemning. Andrew Garfield stands out as Severin, somehow displaying vulnerability and masculinity in the same breath.

Even the smaller roles are home runs. Ironically, musician Justin Timberlake continues beefing up his acting chops as the music industry's biggest enemy, Napster creator Sean Parker. The identical twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss are both, more or less, played by Armie Hammer with delicious amounts of condescending charm.

It's hard to credit one decision with making a movie great, especially in a movie as amazing as this. But the most important decision Fincher made was in treating the subject matter of the film with appropriate severity. Fincher never relies on cheap tricks to capitalize on the popularity of the film's subject matter. Instead, he lets the whip-smart script and stellar cast stand as a testament to a desolate struggle for recognition. On the surface, "The Social Network" might seem like a simple airing of Facebook's dirty laundry, but look closer and you will find a tragic story of friendship, ambition, defeat and betrayal that could only happen in our generation.

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