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The Social Network - Fact or Fiction? (Spoilers!)

Mark Zuckerberg (l) is played by Jesse Eisenberg (r) in The Social Network Mark Zuckerberg (l) is played by Jesse Eisenberg (r) in The Social Network

Some who previewed the movie 'The Social Network' claimed it presented Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg as a “borderline-autistic conniver" and a "ruthless and untrustworthy sex maniac". The fast paced geek drama opened in movie theaters on October 1st, 2001, and startled naysayers by becoming not only a hit with viewers but acclaimed by critics as well.

 

The film, adapted from Ben Mezrich's 2009 nonfiction book The Accidental Billionaires, tells the story of the founding of Facebook in the form of flashbacks during a court hearing. An arrogant Mark Zuckerberg is being sued by twin brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who claim they were the financial founders of the social network and have been edged out by their now greedy friend.

In the Beginning - The Founding of Facebook

The story reaches back to before the brainstorm that became the world's largest online social meetingplace to February 4, 2004, with a 19 year old Zuckerberg (played by 26 year old Jesse Eisenberg)was dumped by Erica, his girlfriend.

Among other insults, she flings two particularly hurtful ones at the budding genius, informing him that he may “go through life thinking that girls don’t like you because you’re a tech geek" -  but that's not the real reason he'll be alone. "I want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, that that won’t be true," she tells him. "It’ll be because you’re an asshole.”

The film takes a dark turn as Zuckerberg slinks off to nurse his grief with alcohol in his Harvard dorm. He creates a code which allows him to catalogue Harvard's collection of student body biographies and pictures. His friends love the idea, and promptly join in - ranking the female students by comparing them to barnyard animals.

Zuckerberg uploads his newly created "FaceMash" to the college servers - which promptly crash as the network goes viral in less than half an hour. The hubbub  attracts the attention of the Winklevoss twins from Harvard's rowing team, and the duo offers to fund the venture if Zuckerberg will expand his listing to include athletes.

From Harvard to Hollywood

It is at this point that Zuckerberg drops out of college and moves to Silicon Valley. He becomes close with Napster co-founder Sean Parker (played by Justin Timberlake), and he and the music piracy site prince enjoy an undisciplined orgiastic life of drunkenness and sex with newfound groupies as the social network continues to expand by the day.

As college campuses across the country eagerly jump on the newly renamed “Facebook” wagon, Zuckerberg began attempting to cut out early supporters - including the Winklevoss twins, who are incensed and promptly bring a lawsuit - claiming Mark was under contract to build them a similar website which they had planned on calling “The Harvard Connection“.

A Delaware court gives the duo $65 million for their part in the fledgling company turned behemoth, and Parker (who claims he is the reason the company survived a dissipated Zuckerberg) walks away with $200 million.

The film ends with Mark Zuckerberg - now worth over $4 billion - awaiting a reply to a message he sent to his old girlfriend Erica, and obsessively refreshing the page every few seconds as his hope slowly fades.

The Social Network Exceeds Expectations

The film exceeded all expectations, grossing over $23 million in its debut weekend. It will be available to rent on Blu-ray and DVD or through Netflix , Redbox or On-Demand on January 11, 2011. Critically acclaimed, the show is expected to garner plenty of awards - although the veracity of a lot of it is still in question.

Facebook's Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg told the Huffington Post that the film bore very little resemblance to the reality of those early days: "In real life, he (Mark Zuckerberg) was just sitting around with his friends in front of his computer, ordering pizza," she declared. "Who wants to go see that for two hours?"

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Jesse Eisenberg plays Mark Zuckerberg in THE SOCIAL NETWORK
Last modified on Monday, 22 October 2012 14:59

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