It would be easy to classify The Social Network as a story about a guy who is lonely at the top. After all, the phrase surrounding the movie is, “You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies.” Though I think Mother Theresa probably did. And Gandhi. But for those, like Mark Zuckerberg, who are actually famous for monetary rather than Good Samaritan reasons, the phrase is more than likely applicable.
The lore of Mark Zuckerberg’s true personality and whether or not he really did steal the idea for Facebook from the brothers Winklevoss (played by Armie Hammer. Kind of a bull shit name by the way) has remained somewhat shrouded in mystery, only to be further convoluted by Aaron Sorkin’s script for The Social Network. Alternating back and forth between the legal proceedings Zuckerberg went through in the wake of Facebook’s success and the initiation of its humble beginnings, the message behind The Social Network isn’t quite as sophisticated as one would expect from the collaborative effort of Sorkin and David Fincher (there’s actually far more complexity to be found in Fincher’s reimagining of Metropolis in the video for “Express Yourself”).
Portraying most of Zuckerberg’s actions as being driven by his desire to impress/get back at his ex-girlfriend, Erica Albright (Rooney Mara) for breaking up with him and (rightly) calling him an asshole, Sorkin based the screenplay on what can best be categorized as a trash novel called The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich, who consulted frequently with spurned Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin (played by Andrew Garfield). While Zuckerberg undoubtedly had other motivations for wanting to “do something substantial,” the emphasis is on his latent feelings of inadequacy. You know, Psych 101 shit.
Paired with inordinately long voiceovers about codes and hacking (which I honestly couldn’t give less of a fuck about, but then, that’s the reason why I’m broke ass and Zuckerberg has more money than a fleet of Halliburton employees), Zuckerberg does not make for the most palatable protagonist. Sean Parker (who Justin Timberlake is just a hair too good looking to pull off playing) is another veritable douche bag in the unraveling of Facebook’s story. What is it with dudes who create websites being utterly and profoundly socially retarded?
As the film reaches its closing, the audience is not exactly left with any arcane knowledge about Zuckerberg’s character, though we are supposed to retract our initial snap judgment about him being a dick and instead view him as a misunderstood anachronism merely wishing to be loved by the object of his affection. The filmmakers even shelled out the dough for The Beatles’ “Baby, You’re A Rich Man” for the ending credits (which makes sense on the surface, but not when you consider that John Lennon wrote the song about hyprocritial hippies. Alliteration intended). So, more than anything else, The Social Network is a movie that mirrors Zuckerberg himself: Cut and dry, purely informational.