Kingdom of the Nerds
The Social Network

By Lois Siegel

Photo by Paul Jean

Lois Siegel
Plays fiddle and she teaches Video Production at
the University of Ottawa
Her documentary films include “Baseball Girls”
 (women who play softball and baseball)
 “Lip Gloss” (female impersonators)
 “Strangers in Town” (albinism)
 and “Stunt People”
 (The Fournier Family performing stunts for films).

The Social Network
Directed by David Fincher
Executive Producers: Aaron Sorkin and Kevin Spacey

It’s not that often that a geeky film captures the minds of large audiences. “The Social Network” does just that.  It’s brilliant. It’s the tale everyone wanted to hear: the origins of Facebook: “You Don’t Get to 500 Million Friends Without Making a Few Enemies.”  And Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, made a few enemies.

Basically, Zuckerberg is hired by a group that has the idea for a social network on the Internet. He runs off with the idea and pursues it himself, developing what we know as Facebook today – the lifeline of millions of people, some of whom practically live online, feeding it new information about themselves every day, telling all to a gossip hungry populace.

Jesse Eisenberg

The film flips back and forth between the lawsuits that ensued when those who had the original idea for the network discover that Zuckerberg has beat them to it.   What happened to cause the riffs between the main characters is revealed in stages.  At first, this moving back and forth in time is a bit confusing, but we soon understand the sequence of events.

It’s the story of head shark versus mini sharks, dotted with lawyers. 

Jesse Eisenberg cast as Zuckerberg is a perfect casting choice. He has that stare of incomprehension… he understands why he does what he does. Why doesn’t everyone else.

The film takes us back to Harvard University, showing us the importance of being socially accepted. Everyone wants to be.  Everyone wants to get into the elite clubs and have important friends. Zuckerberg was a jerk. Those who are socially inept are excluded. Zuckerberg couldn’t accept this.

When dumped by his girlfriend Erica (Rooney Mara), he runs to the Internet, the only defense he knows, and blogs her – calling her a bitch and other nasty things for all to read.

The film makes us understand how he functions.  He is what he is.

Zuckerberg is like the Full-time Professors who tell Part-time Instructors all the details about their Ph. Ds at every social gathering.  They just can’t help it. He tells Erica about his perfect 1600 SAT score (a standardized test for college admissions). The way he asserts this as a factual record is scary.  “Dating you is like dating a Stairmaster,” she tells him.

His real girlfriend becomes his computer. He can control it, and it doesn’t talk back.

Zuckerberg becomes the youngest billionaire in the world.  He’s an inspiration to many, I’m sure, but his life is revealed as also being very sad at times.  Watching the movie, we try to understand all the characters and their motivations.  Even those who are used by Zuckerberg are not really painted as a pretty picture.  In the land of wolves, there are no real heroes.

Justin Timberlake/Sean Parker
Andrew Garfield/Eduardo Saverin

Aaron Sorkin wrote the screenplay based on a book by Ben Mezrich.
His fast-paced dialogue, expertly spurted out a million miles a minute by Eisenberg, keeps us riveted for two hours. And most of us would like the saga of this phenomenon to continue…. We want to know more….

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