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Silicon Valley goes to the movies to see Facebook on the big screen

October 1, 2010 |  7:32 pm

Here in the heartland of technology, plenty of offices were deserted Friday when Silicon Valley took the afternoon off to go to the movies.

Facebook employees took a field trip to the Century Cinema 16 in Mountain View to see "The Social Network." In Redwood City, Eastwick Communications held a special screening of the film, the first to shine such a bright spotlight on this high-tech region.

The general consensus: Thumbs up for the fast-talking wit of Aaron Sorkin's script, a thumbs down for its portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg. No matter the substantial talents of Jesse Eisenberg, the character he plays is not Zuckerberg.

Said early Facebook employee Matt Cohler: "The movie did an interesting job of humanizing this character but that character doesn't bear much resemblance to Mark Zuckerberg."

"The Mark Zuckerberg character talked a lot and Mark doesn't," observed All Things D's Kara Swisher, who moderated a panel after the Eastwick Communications screening.

The most significant flaw in the film's premise: that Zuckerberg started Facebook as an alienated outsider who, driven by his insecurities, claws to get noticed and into elitist clubs as a Harvard sophomore.

"Mark's not the kind of person who ever needed to do something like Facebook to feel good about himself. Everything flowed out of that premise in the movie," Cohler said.

Many of the other characters seemed, well, out of character. But the character most missing in the film is Facebook itself. The film could have been about MySpace, Friendster or any other social networking website for as much time and attention that is paid to it.

That said, “The Social Network” has received glowing reviews, despite its controversial take on the founding of Facebook. So Zuckerberg may just have to get used to the limelight.

-- Jessica Guynn

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