Facebook’s birth in a marvelous movie

Aaron Sorkin tells a tale of Harvard-dropout billionaire

| Oct 7, 2010

A scene from The Social Network
The Social Network is the story of the creation of Facebook.com and its aftermath, and if you don’t know what Facebook is, what planet have you been living on for the past six or seven years?

Although it isn’t a documentary, the film is based on the 2009 book by Ben Mezrich, The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal, which pretty much describes the story, but even the book contains a lengthy disclaimer admitting it contains “fudged facts” for the benefit of a good story.

At any rate, David Fincher directed, Aaron Sorkin wrote the screenplay, and Jesse Eisenberg plays Mark Zuckerberg, the Harvard drop-out who created the world’s most popular social-networking Internet Website and who has been called the world’s youngest billionaire.

And if we can believe the book, the movie, and many other corroborating accounts, the genesis for Facebook occurred in 2003 when Zuckerberg was a geeky sophomore and got dumped by his girlfriend.

What happened next in the life of this socially inept computer genius is the stuff of this marvelous film and the events that affected his career and now is a part of half-a-billion users worldwide.

Imagine the box-office results if every Facebook user wants to see this film.

Stung by his girlfriend’s rejection, Zuckerberg goes back to his dorm room, blogs about the breakup, and then fueled by quite a few beers, hacks into the servers of the Harvard computer system, downloads photos of coeds, and then creates the Facemash domain, which asks visitors to identify which of two girls is “hotter.”

The response is so successful that it crashes the Harvard.edu Website.

Enter the Winklevoss twins, Cameron and Tyler. They have had an idea for a Harvard social-network site called “The Harvard Connection,” and they approach Zuckerberg to build it for them. The rest, as they say, as does the subtitle of the source book, is “sex, money, genius, and betrayal.”

Zuckerberg’s best friend, initial backer, and original partner in his vision to expand a computer social network beyond Harvard is Eduardo Saverin, and the film consists of interlocking scenes of the two lawsuits against Zuckerberg and flashbacks to the events.

The Social Network brings to mind the question, “Are we too linked in to the Internet and modern technology?”

I’m Dan Culberson and this is “Hotshots.” 

culberson-thumbnail-2“Hotshots” is a weekly movie review by Dan Culberson available on KGNU Community Radio (88.5 FM in Boulder and 1390 AM in Denver, on Filmchannel1, and on Boulder Reporter. Culberson has been reviewing films since 1972 for newspapers, magazines, radio and television. He can be e-mailed at [email protected].