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The Social Network is a 2010 drama directed by David Fincher. Starring Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg, the film follows the young Harvard student as he creates a social networking website and the controversy, trials, and tribulations that derive from its rapid success.
Mark showing his friends FaceMash
The film starts of with Mark Zuckerberg having a conversation with his girlfriend, Erica Albright. They end up breaking up, so Mark goes home and starts writing a hateful blog about Erica. To get his mind off of his recent break-up he starts to work on a website called FaceMash where you are shown pictures of two girls, and you pick which you think is the most attractive. Mark hacks into the databases of various residence halls to get the pictures of the girls that he needs. Eduardo Saverin, Mark's friend, supplies Mark with an algorithm that was used to rank chess players. After the algorithm is implemented, FaceMash is launched. The site receives a tremendous amount of traffic in just a few hours, and ends up crashing Harvard's network.
Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss and Divya Narendra are impressed with how Mark was able to create FaceMash in a couple of hours, while drunk, and how he also simultaneously blogged about the creation of it. They ask him if he can help them with a website they have been working on called Harvard Connection. They needed a gifted and creative programmer. After some questions, Mark quickly accepts the offer.
Eduardo and Mark
At a party at Alpha Epsilon Pi, Mark tells Eduardo about his idea of a website that offers people the ability to look at other peoples pictures, profile, friends etc. Mark needed a little start up cash to rent the servers and get it online. Eduardo likes the idea and gives Mark a thousand dollars to help him start the website. Mark starts to avoid meetings with the Winklevoss twins and Divya about Harvard Connection because he gets busy with working on his own website. On January 4th, 2004, Mark registered the domain name www.thefacebook.com. One day Mark's friend, Dustin Moskovitz, asks him if he knows that the girl that he is interested in is available. This gives Mark the idea of having a section on Thefacebook called Relationship Status. After adding this, Mark says that Thefacebook is ready for launch. They distribute the link to Eduardo's connections at the Pheonix S-K final club, and it quickly becomes popular throughout the student body. After Thefacebook has been live for more than 36 hours, Divya learns about the site. He quickly informs the Winklevoss twins. They believe that Mark had stolen their idea about a social networking website exclusive to Harvard students. Divya and Cameron want to sue Mark for intellectual property theft, however Tyler suggests against doing so because suing people is not something that "Harvard gentlemen" do.
Later, when Mark and Eduardo are visiting a lecture by Bill Gates, Eduardo is met by another Harvard student, Christy Lee. Christy and her friend ask Eduardo if they are the ones that invented Thefacebook. Eventually she tells Eduardo to "facebook us" and they could have a drink together later. Both Mark and Eduardo are impressed with the fact that she used the phrase "facebook us" and also that they wanted to have a drink later. When Mark and Eduardo meet up with Christy and her friend at a bar, Eduardo and Christy end up having sex in the bathroom. Later, Mark notices that her ex-girlfriend, Erica is also at the bar. Mark learns that Erica has still not heard of Thefacebook because she isn't a Harvard student, so he decides that the website needs to expand to more schools such as, Yale, Columbia and Stanford.
Divya and Tyler
While Thefacebook grows and grows and more and more students start using it, the Winklevoss twins and Divya are still thinking about what actions they should take against Mark. Tyler suggests accusing Mark of violating the Harvard student Code of Conduct. Tyler and Cameron arrange a meeting with Harvard President Larry Summers. However, Larry doesn't see any point in taking any disciplinary action and he also doesn't see any potential in Thefacebook, and actually laughs when the Winklevoss twins says that it's a idea that is potentially worth millions of dollars.
Mark and Eduardo arrange a meeting through Christy Lee, who is now Eduardo's girlfriend, with the founder of Napster, Sean Parker. Both Mark and Christy are excited to meet Sean, but Eduardo is skeptical. He tells the others of how Sean has left his two previous companies in spectacular fashion and how he also has had a reputation with drugs. When Sean finally arrives, 25 minutes late, it's an all out "Seanathon". Sean starts telling them how he got fired by his previous companies and how the business works. He also talked a lot about how Mark had to move to California. When the conversation ends and Sean is about to leave, he says that they should drop the The from Thefacebook and just keep it Facebook. Eduardo states that this was Sean's only contribution to the company.
Mark and Sean discussing Facebook
Mark thinks about what Sean said that they need to move to California, and he agrees. Mark moves the company's base to Palo Alto, while Eduardo remains in New York seeking advertising support. The house the Mark rented is coincidentally located right across the street of Sean's girlfriend's house. Later, while at a club, Mark tells Sean about his plans on getting Facebook on a 100 schools by the end of the summer. Sean says that he can get them on two continents by the end of the summer. When Eduardo comes to meet Mark in Palo Alto, he is met by Sean when he rings the door bell. He gets angry when he learns that Sean has been making business decisions for Facebook while he has been gone. After an argument with Mark and Sean, Eduardo decides to freeze the company's bank account and returns back to New York.
When Eduardo returns to New York, he is met by Christy. She asks him why his Relationship Status on Facebook says that he is single. Eduardo says that he never changed it because he doesn't know how to do so. This angers Christy even more because the CFO of Facebook must know how to change his Relationship Status. She says that he been cheating on her with the "Silicon Valley sluts" and then sets fire on a scarf that Eduardo had bought for her as a gift. While Eduardo attempts to extinguish the fire, he gets a phone call from Mark where Mark asks him why he closed down the company's bank account. Eduardo replies that he had to do it to get his attention. Mark forgives him and says that have secured half a million dollars from an angel investor through Sean's contacts. He says that Eduardo needs to take the first flight back to California to sign on some papers. Eduardo also ends breaking up with Christ after he realizes how crazy she can be.
Eduardo is pissed
The Winklevoss twins decide to sue when they learn that Facebook has expanded more, even to a couple of universities in England. When Eduardo returns to California to sign the papers, he discovers that the deal that he signed with Parker's investors has allowed them to dilute his share of the company from thirty-four percent to three hundredths of a percent, while maintaining the ownership percentage of all other parties. Eduardo confronts Mark and tells him "you better lawyer up, asshole. Cause I'm not coming back for thirty percent, I'm coming back for everything." After Eduardo leaves the Facebook headquarters, Sean, Mark and the other employees celebrate for reaching one million users on Facebook. Later that night, while Sean and others are celebrating, he and a few other Facebook interns are arrested for possession of cocaine.
Throughout the film, Mark is shown testifying in two lawsuits, one filed by Eduardo and the other filed by the Winklewoss twins. At the end Mark is informed by a junior lawyer that they will be settling with Eduardo. When the lawyer leaves, Mark is left alone in his room. He opens up his laptop and checks out his Facebook. He then searches for Erica Albright, his ex-girlfriend, and then sends a Friend Request to her. Mark leans back and starts refreshing the page every few seconds to see if he gets a response.
Filming began in October 2009 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Most scenes were shot around the campuses of Phillips Academy and Milton Academy, two Massachusetts prep schools. Harvard did not allow the film to be shot on-location and so the Harvard campus scenes were filmed on the campus of Wheelock College. The opening scene, in which Mark Zuckerberg and Erica Albright are talking at the bar, took 99 takes to complete. David Fincher allowed real students to enter the bar and talk during filming to create a more real atmosphere. Two cameras were used to capture Eisenberg and Mara simultaneously because the dialogue was written in a way that there was going to be a lot of overlapping.
Armie Hammer and Josh Pence auditioned together for the role of Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, and were under the impression that the twins were going to be fraternal. It was later decided that Hammer would portray both twins and Pence would be playing the double. Pence was originally concerned about no face time during the whole movie, but he later decided that the decision was a "no-brainer". Some of the Winklevoss scenes were shot using split-screen photography, but in others Pence acted alongside Hammer and his face was later digitally grafted on Pence's face. Pence has a small cameo role in the movie.
The soundtrack for the film was composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. It was released on September 28, 2010. A five-track sampler was released on September 17, and available free for download. There are several songs in the movie that do not appear in the soundtrack. One of them is The Beatles song Baby, You're a Rich Man, which appears at the end of the movie, and plays throughout the credits. It is worth noting this because, The Beatles very rarely let their music be licensed for movies or any other kind of media.
On The Null Corporation's website, this is what Reznor had to say about the soundtrack:
This is what Atticus and I have been working on for the last few months. We had a great time working with David Fincher on this and the film turned out excellent - something we're very proud of. It opens in theatres Oct 1 and you should check it out.
Musically, this all came out of our secret laboratory - electronic in basis, but mostly organic sounding. Lots of experiments and emphasis on sound fraying around the edges while focusing on the proper emotional tone for the various scenes.
Heather Phares of Allmusic gave the soundtrack four stars and wrote: "While The Social Network may not be as iconic as the Dust Brothers' score for Fincher's Fight Club, it’s as impressive and listenable in its own way. Reznor fans and film score aficionados will find a lot to like here."
On December 16, 2010 it was announced that The Social Network will be released DVD and Blu-ray on January 11, 2011 in the USA and February 14 in the UK. Sony released just two versions of The Social Network. A Two-Disc DVD Collector's Edition and a Two-Disc Blu-ray edition. The discs include a commentary by the director, David Fincher and another commentary by the screenwriter, Aaron Sorkin and the cast. The second disc has hours of bonus material including a feature-length documentary entitled How Did They Ever Make a Movie of Facebook?
The first theatrical poster for The Social Network was released on June 18, 2010 and the movies website, 500millionfriends.com was launched the same day. The first teaser trailer was released on June 25, 2010. It showed no footage but had voices of the characters talking. The second teaser trailer was released on July 8. It was similar to the first teaser, but this time it showed the characters chatting through Facebook chat. The first full length theatrical trailer was released on July 15, 2010. It featured the song "Creep" by Radiohead, covered by the Belgian choir group Scala & Kolacny Brothers. Several other TV Spots and promos featured the song "Power" by Kanye West.
Response by Facebook
At the D8 conference on June 2, 2010, host Kara Swisher mentioned to Mark Zuckerberg that she knew that he wasn't happy about an upcoming movie being based on him, to which he replied "I just wish that nobody made a movie of me while I was still alive". Zuckerberg stated in a different interview that he had no plans on seeing the film. Zuckerberg later appeared on Oprah where he said "It's a movie, it's fun", he then continued "A lot of it is fiction but even the filmmakers will say that. They're trying to build a good story, but I'm going to promise you, this is my life, so I know that it's so dramatic." In an interview at Stanford University, Zuckerberg was asked what the the film got wrong. This is what he had to say:
Where do you wanna start? I mean, I don’t know. It’s interesting what stuff they focused on getting right. Like every single fleece and shirt I had in that movie is actually a shirt or fleece that I own. You know, so there’s all this stuff that they got wrong, and a bunch of random details that they got right. The thing that I think is actually most thematically interesting that they got wrong is — the whole framing of the movie, kind of the way that it starts is, I’m with this girl who doesn’t exist in real life, who dumps me, which has happened to me in real life, a lot — and basically to frame it as if the whole reason for making Facebook and building something was because I wanted to get girls or wanted to get into some sort of social institution. And the reality for people who know me is that I’ve actually been dating the same girl since before I started Facebook, so obviously that’s not a part of it. But I think it’s such a big disconnect from the way people who make movies think about what we do in Silicon Valley — building stuff. They just can’t wrap their head around the idea that someone might build something because they like building things.
Co-Founder of Facebook, Dustin Moskovitz said that he found it interesting to see what the filmmakers decided to emphasize on and what they decided to leave out. He did however say that it's cool to see a dramatization of history. "A lot of exciting things happened in 2004, but mostly we just worked a lot and stressed out about things; the version in the trailer seems a lot more exciting, so I'm just going to choose to remember that we drank ourselves silly and had a lot of sex with coeds."
During the first weekend in the United States, The Social Network opened at #1, ahead of Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, grossing an estimated $23 million in 2,771 theaters. In its second week it still held the top spot, grossing around $15.5 million, dropping only 31.2% from its first week. The film has grossed $96,962,694 million in the United States and $127,621,116 overseas, for a worldwide total of $224,583,810.
The Social Network was met with extremely positive reviews. It currently holds a score of 96% on Rotten Tomatoes, an average calculated out of 259 reviews. It holds a score of 100% among the Top Critics of Rotten Tomatoes. Joe Morgenstern of Wall Street Journal wrote: "This account of Facebook's founder, and of the website's explosive growth, quickly lifts you to a state of exhilaration, and pretty much keeps you there for two hours." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone wrote: "The Social Network is the movie of the year. But Fincher and Sorkin triumph by taking it further. Lacing their scathing wit with an aching sadness, they define the dark irony of the past decade." On Metacritic the film holds a score of 95 based on 42 reviews, which indicates "universal acclaim".
The film was nominated in six categories at the 2011 Golden Globes. These include Best Director, Best Motion Picture - Drama, Best Original Score, Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama, Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture and Best Screenplay. It won in four of the six categories it was nominated in, Best Director, Best Motion Picture - Drama, Best Original Score and Best Screenplay. The Social Network was also nominated in eight categories at the 83rd Academy Awards. These include Best Motion Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Editing, Best Original Score, Best Screenplay Based on Previously Produced Material, Best Cinematography and Best Sound Mixing. It won in three categories, Best Editing, Best Original Score and Best Screenplay Based on Previously Produced Material.