In the beginning of The Social Network, Mark Zuckerberg gets dumped, and called a selfish jerk, in the middle of a crowded college bar. Publicly rejected, Zuckerberg takes to the internet to lash out at the girl on LiveJournal.
Even though the mean-spirited move makes him even less popular at school, much of The Social Network is actually about how Facebook was originally motivated by Zuckerberg's desire to fit in.
In a uniform of baggy jeans and Adidas sandals, he sets out to get revenge on everyone who's ever excluded him (especially the members of Harvard's fratty Porcellian Final Club). So while The Social Network is about a 21st-century multimillion (sorry, billion) dollar company, the underlying messages of jealousy and greed are nothing new.
Thanks to a series of back-and-forths between Zuckerberg's courtroom appearances and flashbacks to his Harvard days, we can see where things go sour along the way to success.
The film focuses a little too much on the ironic fact that although Zuckerberg has tons of friends on Facebook, he isn't so popular in real life. But the casting was spot-on, with Jesse Eisenberg playing a fast-talking, sarcastic Zuckerberg to perfection and Justin Timberlake as sleazy Napster founder Sean Parker. We also loved Rooney Mara as Zuckerberg's spurned ex, and Brenda Song as the crazy girlfriend of Zuckerberg's former best friend and Facebook CFO Eduardo Saverin.
Early in the movie, Zuckerberg tells him that Facebook is different than other websites because "it's always a continuation; it never ends." So even though we won't go as far as the critics who claim The Social Network "defines our generation," Facebook's constant evolution is what makes the movie so compelling.
Why? Because we're all a part of the story indirectly, every time we log on.