Yesterday afternoon I went with a friend to see "The Social Network." I thought I was going to see the movie with my office opening week, so I waited to buy tickets. When the office outing fell through, I found myself weeks behind on the release.
I read the book "The Accidental Billionares" by Ben Mezrich, on which the script is based. I found myself scrutinizing the movie to see what remained the same from the book and what was altered.
First let me say, casting Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg was genius. If you have ever seen Mark on television, in photos or quoted in the press, he is painfully cerebral. Eisenberg portrays this personality perfectly. His awkwardness pushes the viewer to a place of physical discomfort.
Also brilliantly cast is Andrew Garfield as Eduardo Saverin, the co-founder and original investor in Facebook. Though the book goes into much further detail about Eduardo's role in the company, the movie does accurately portray how Eduardo's decision to remain in New York instead of come to Palo Alto cemented his eventual ousting from the executive team.
I also want to give majors kudos to Justin Timberlake who is positively magnetic as the impossibly entrepreneurial playboy, Sean Parker.
Armie Hammer, who plays the twins Cameron and Tyler Winkelvoss, is also superb. He beautifully walks the line between polished Harvard gentleman and furious, scorned frat boy.
What was most interesting is that in the book the stories are told in real-time. In the movie, the plot unfolds as a serious of flashbacks during two separate depositions for lawsuits against Zuckerberg.
Though the book isn't particularly flattering for Zuckerberg, the movie is even more deprecating. Zuckerberg is painted as a young man committed to one thing and one thing only - his growing social network. He breaks his promise to the Winkelvoss', he leaves his best friend in the dust, and he drops out of the best higher education institution on the planet.
If you're interested in learning about the origins of Facebook, "The Social Network" is a must see. If you are familiar with the Harvard campus and the surrounding streets, you'll love seeing all the spots you've walked by a million times.
If you're interested in the story of Facebook as a business, pick up David Kirkpatrick's book "The Facebook Effect." I read it a few months ago and was amazed to learn the strategy behind some of the company's biggest decisions.
Love him or hate him, its undeniable that Mark Zuckerberg launched a social experience that is transforming the way we communicate.