The Social Network wows critics, nets US$23m at box office

4 Oct 2010

The Social Network, a biopic based on Facebook’s 26-year-old billionaire founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, has been critically acclaimed by some of America’s top reviewers.

The movie, which opens in Ireland on 15 October, topped the box office in the US with US$23m in ticket sales. The Social Network had a budget of US$45m and Sony is expecting the film to bring in US$100m in box office sales.

The movie achieved a 97pc rating by critical reviewers on the usually hard to please Rotten Tomatoes website and an 81pc rating by audience votes.

Rotten Tomatoes described it as: “Impeccably scripted, beautifully directed, and filled with fine performances, The Social Network is a riveting, ambitious example of modern filmmaking at its finest.”

While the story told by writer Aaron Sorkin and envisioned by director David Fincher may not be totally accurate, it is nonetheless compelling viewing for anyone mesmerised by the rise and rise of Facebook, which is used by 500m people worldwide.

It is understood that the real Zuckerberg, who is played by Jesse Eisenberg in the film, has no intention of going to see the movie.

The movie depicts the personal and legal complications which arose from the success of a venture that began in a dorm room six years ago.

What the critics said

Among the critical reviews were the following:

“You will know The Social Network is something very special from its first scene” – Charlie McCallum, San Jose Mercury News.

“This account of Facebook’s founder, and of the website’s explosive growth, quickly lifts you to a state of exhilaration, and pretty much keeps you there for two hours” – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal.

“Brilliantly directed by David Fincher, this provocative film probes the impetus for invention, the changing face of social interaction and the limits of friendship – the old-fashioned kind and the version linking 500 million Facebook users” – Claudia Puig, USA Today.

“Everyone involved went out and made the film they were trying to make, and it’s often funny and generally captivating” – Laremy Legel,

“David Fincher’s film has the rare quality of being not only as smart as its brilliant hero, but in the same way. It is cocksure, impatient, cold, exciting and instinctively perceptive” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.

“This is the 2010 Oscar season’s first drama to live up to the hype and expectations associated with it” – James Barardinelli, ReelViews.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years