"You're not an asshole, Mark, you're just trying really hard to be one." Aaron Sorkin's whip-sharp dialogue pings like a Rafael Nadal forehand in David Fincher's compelling and droll look at the rise of Facebook and the demise of the founders' friendships.
It opens with Jesse Eisenberg's socially inept Mark Zuckerberg, a 19-year-old Harvard student, being – quite reasonably – dumped by his exasperated girlfriend, Erica ("dating you is like dating a Stairmaster"). In "retaliation" a sozzled Mark writes a mean blog about her and the other women on campus – creating, in the process, a website that allows students to rate females by their "hotness". It's a big hit and Zuckerberg quickly twigs that social-networking sites are the way forward. He enlists his (only) friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) to supply the finance. Meanwhile, he has been working on the Harvard Connection website of two members of the rowing team, the wealthy Winklevoss twins (both ably played by Armie Hammer). They're reluctant to sue, reasoning that they are "gentlemen of Harvard". But when the website morphs into Facebook and becomes deliriously successful, then the lawsuits begin. Eisenberg is note perfect as the driven, seditious Zuckerberg but it's Garfield, as the "betrayed" best friend, who gives Fincher's hugely enjoyable film heart.