Movie Review: The Social Network

I did see “The Social Network” over the weekend. It’s about the creation and beginnings of Facebook. And I’m so freaking conflicted it’s not even funny. It was a good movie except I knew way too much to enjoy it.

Last month, just because I was curious about the movie coming out, I bought the book that I thought the movie was based on…it wasn’t. The movie is based on “The Accidental Billionaires” and I had bought “The Facebook Effect“. Woops. Since I don’t believe in wasting money I read it then bought “Accidental Billionaires” and read that as well. And in the process I read A LOT of articles online, in newspapers, interviews, blogs, etc. Anywhere I could. Suddenly I became a pseudo expert of the beginnings of Facebook. What a stupid topic to be a pseudo expert in! 😀 I like Facebook but not that much!

The reason I was reading so very much is because the 2 books are so very different. I don’t mean just in style, genre or word play; I mean in storyline AKA which one is telling the truth? They both tell very different stories from the other! But there is a reason “The Facebook Effect” has nearly 5 stars and “Accidental Billionaires” has 3 stars on Amazon. Ben Mezrich, author of Accidental Billionaires, made up most of the story. To quote one reviewer: “The problem is Mezrich admits to creative storytelling in the Forward– collapsing time frames, combining characters, even imagining scenarios. So, in effect, everything not publicly documented could be fabricated.” And that’s exactly what he did.

The book is mostly fabrication and so the movie is more or less fabrication too or rather “the film is only “40% true” according to David Kirkpatrick, author of The Facebook Effect. And that made it very very difficult to watch knowing what was true and what wasn’t. If I had not read so damn much before seeing the movie I think I would have liked it more. I’m sure of it. The characters are solid and interesting. The story has enough twists and turns to it that you want to see what is coming up. And you can’t help but love the asshole (as portrayed anyway) that is Mark Zuckerberg. Though I ended up hating the character of Sean Parker.

On an unrelated note I would love to talk to Mark Zuckerberg. Kinda like talking to Bill Gates. I just want to see who they are in front of a crowd, in front of “fans” but not in front of the media. I wonder who they are as a person and not when they are putting on a show. What their genius looks like. But I digress.

See the movie even if your not a big Facebook fan. It’s got an interesting plot and interesting characters but don’t bother with the book it’s based on – the story is poorly written, fictitious for the most part and is painful to read. The movie smoothed over the rough and sometimes boring bits and actually created a story where there was none before. If you want the true history or want to find out what was made up read “The Facebook Effect” – Kirkpatrick clearly loves Facebook (way too groupie like at some points) but he is a journalist and did depict the characters and timeline accurately and fairly, something that can not be said about the movie or the book it was based on.