Sitting inside the musky lounge of The Thirsty Scholar, located on-campus of the prestigious Harvard University, Mark Zuckerberg (Jessie Eisenberg) engages in conversation with his girlfriend, Erica Albright (Rooney Mara), over a pair of beers.
It goes awry, and within an hour, a now-single and exceedingly intoxicated Zuckerberg retreats to his dorm, where he converts his bottled frustrations into LiveJournal blog posts, lashing out at his ex-girlfriend over her personality and cup size. But blogging isn’t quite satisfying enough. That’s when he gets an idea.
Facemash.com is created then, a rainy night in 2003. Zuckerberg hacks the school’s databases for headshot photos and launches his website, which allows students to compare campus girls and rate who’s hotter. The site’s popularity explodes overnight, causing the Harvard network to crash. Zuckerberg gets heat from the administrative board, but he also earns the attention of twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (Armie Hammer), affluent twin students who belong to one of the exclusive clubs Zuckerberg is so desperate to get into.
They explain their concept, a social network for Harvard students called HarvardConnection, but need Zuckerberg for programming. He agrees, but ends up doing his own thing: The Facebook. This is where things spiral out of control.
Amidst a firestorm of legal complications, a life-changing meeting with Napster founder Shawn Fanning (Justin Timberlake), and the social effects of unanticipated campus fame, Zuckerberg finds himself at the nexus of a chain of events no one can forecast: The forging of Facebook, a half-million, 25-billion dollar social revolution.
But what makes The Social Network so excellent is the fact that Facebook, as we know it today, is actually irrelevant. The Social Network is founded on ordinary pillars of a young student’s life, like popularity and recognition and girls, that collapse under the weight of something so much bigger than anyone initially expected. Bleeding friendships stain the intricately woven fabric that makes up The Social Network, as flashbacks deftly immerse you in Zuckerberg’s world before a more modern reality sucker-punches you into realizing just how big a deal Facebook is.
You don’t have to like Facebook, or hate it, to enjoy this movie. You don’t even have to know what it is—although you obviously do. You only have to watch it. Skeptics welcome.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5.