Billed as an exhilarating, visceral tale about the founding of Facebook, “The Social Network” gave the opening of the New York Film Festival on Friday an aura of anticipation and a touch of controversy. The film has attracted widespread attention with its assertion that it tells the true story of the birth of the website — which now boasts more than 500 million members and is worth tens of billions. Yet, it is based on a book criticized for its reporting methods.
One of the most talked about films of the year, “Social Network” was transformed into a movie by Hollywood heavyweight director David Fincher and writer Aaron Sorkin. It has brought an unusual pizazz to the 17-day film festival, which typically emphasizes the art of cinema over Hollywood-style premieres. “This movie is absolutely a true story, but with the catch that people disagree about what the truth was and the movie takes no position on what the truth is. It presents everybody's story,” Sorkin, best known for his TV hit “The West Wing,” told Reuters. The movie opens across the United States Oct. 1, telling the rags-to-riches tale of how Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg was transformed from an intelligent, socially awkward Harvard University student to the hottest property in Silicon Valley for creating the online community. It intersperses scenes of depositions taken for lawsuits by Zuckerberg's former best friend and Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, as well as by Olympic rowing twin brothers and former Harvard students Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss. Both lawsuits resulted in undisclosed large settlements.
Zuckerberg, now 26, is not expected at Friday's premiere. He refused to cooperate with the film and told Oprah Winfrey on her chat show on Friday, “It's a movie, it's fun” but his life was not so dramatic. Now worth $6.9 billion according to Forbes, Zuckerberg announced a $100 million donation to Newark, New Jersey schools on Friday, deflecting some media attention from the film's premiere.