Review of Andrew Garfield in “The Social Network”

In its very premise, The social network shouldn’t be an entertaining movie. It takes place between boardrooms and college dorms, following conversations between unkind and unskilled businessmen as they goof and betray their way to millions. Who wants to sit through two hours of conversations about stocks and social media, ending with Mark Zuckerberg becoming the world’s youngest billionaire?

Despite the seemingly boring and obnoxious nature of the real story it tells, The Social Network has become one of the largest and most influential films of the 21st century. Between Aaron Sorkin’s quick and precise writing, David Fincher’s signature precision directing and a masterful score by Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, the film revealed the excitement one found around conference tables and back-end development. Really, the movie isn’t about any of those things at all; it is a matter of friendship and betrayal.

While these themes are carved out of Sorkin’s script and enhanced by Fincher’s direction, it’s up to the actors to make sure reality hits home. It’s surprising that amid so much praise for the film’s production, little admiration has been directed towards stars Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield, who impeccably portray the heartbreaking breakdown of a friendship.

When the film was in its infancy, Fincher first became interested in Garfield for the role of Zuckerberg. That idea was dropped when he met the actor, however, as Fincher found that Garfield had “such incredible emotional access to his basic kind of humanity,” as he recalled to the Los Angeles Times. Fincher was looking to cast someone without that access, so Garfield wasn’t quite right for the emotionless, detached Zuckerberg. Instead, Fincher cast him opposite Eisenberg as Eduardo Saverin.

The Brazilian entrepreneur, who started out as a college friend of Zuckerberg, was part of Facebook’s initial setup, but their relationship and business partnership gradually crumbled due to a series of betrayals and disagreements. As a result, Zuckerberg’s name has been permanently attached to Facebook, while Saverin’s has been largely absent from the cultural conversation. Saverin may have lost Facebook fame to his former friend, but his relative anonymity gave Garfield the space to explore the character in his own right, rather than trying to emulate well-known ways like Eisenberg.

Garfield spoke with the Los Angeles Times about preparing for the role, which didn’t involve meeting the real Eduardo Saverin, as they didn’t think it was necessary. He said: “It didn’t seem imperative because Aaron Sorkin wrote this incredibly detailed and idiosyncratic script in which he managed to flesh out a bunch of real people in every facet, so it was all there on the page. But as far as doing some kind of mimicry performance, it didn’t seem necessary or important.

The actor’s decision to avoid mimicry has served him well. Seeking to find the character, instead, in his own exploration of Sorkin’s script, he cultivated the perfect antithesis of Eisenberg’s callous Zuckerberg and the film’s generally emotionless tone. Garfield spends the first half of the run playing Saverin as caring and naive, doing his best to be a good friend against Mark’s protests.

When Mark says “I need you” to him, as he develops the first version of Facebook, Saverin, sweet and desperate, sits down beside him and declares “I’m here for you”. There is genuine concern for his friend following his breakup, to which Mark simply replies, “No, I need the algorithm you use to rank chess players.” Garfield’s entire behavior during the scene is full of concern for his friend and the girls he’s been objectifying online, fighting internally over how best to help him.

Garfield’s harmless and endearing personality remains throughout the early stages of their friendship, before Facebook’s widespread success, from dancing to Mark at a college party to corny disbelief at his growing attention from women. It’s a stark contrast to the Eduardo we see in the court scenes, which are spliced ​​between the story. When we find the characters sitting in a conference room, Garfield embodies Eduardo dejected and disappointed. When he looks at Mark, his former best friend, the light in his eyes has disappeared.

It is this contrast that endears Saverin to Garfield to audiences. The excitement he once had about starting a business venture with his friend was slowly extinguished by Mark’s antics and disloyalty, and it’s all the more saddening when returned by Garfield’s all-human performance. . Garfield’s descent from loyal friend and enthusiastic business partner to bitter enemy culminates in a standout scene near the end of the film, one that has been endlessly cited by cult movie fans online.

The gunshots are, once again, intertwined with a scene at Facebook headquarters, in which Eduardo learns that Mark has watered down his actions. When they start talking about the event, Garfield is sitting facing the camera, with a blurry Eisenberg behind him — he can’t even face his friend. He turns only to deliver the devastating line: “I was your only friend. You had a friend,” before turning to tell the story, stoic and full of anger.

Garfield’s finest moment comes as Eduardo realizes Mark’s betrayal. At that moment, he finally abandons his care for Mark, bursting into the office with a facial expression that reflects the disgust he now feels towards his friend. Furious, he slams Mark’s laptop, delivering his lines with a mixture of anger, sadness, shock and disappointment, both in Mark and in himself for trusting him. Back in the courtroom, he faces Zuckerberg again, looking him straight in the eye to deliver the shocking statistic – his shares have been watered down to 0.3%.

In the Facebook office, Garfield delivers the iconic “Sorry, my Prada’s at the cleaners, with my hoodie and flip flops on, pretentious asshole,” with so much purpose that it stuck in fans’ minds. by Fincher. Since. Then he leans over Zuckerberg, unblinkingly, and says, “You better be a lawyer, asshole, because I’m not coming back for 30%, I’m coming back for everything.” His delivery is defiant, almost sinister, the final nail in the coffin of their friendship – Eduardo is done trying to circumvent Mark’s callous way of doing business. Instead, it resorts to pairing.

Garfield’s performance as Eduardo Saverin may have flown under the radar around the growing praise for The social network‘s production elements, but it’s equally worthy of praise. Contrasted with Eisenberg, Garfield actively channels the emotional and the human into his performance, making Mark all the more unsympathetic.

The real Eduardo Saverin may now be a billionaire and entrepreneur just like Zuckerberg, but Garfield isn’t playing that man. He plays his own take on Sorkin’s script, which doesn’t tell the story of Facebook but tells the story of a failed friendship. In a film that could have been just as emotionless as its main character, Garfield brings a more human element.

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