The Social Network, David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin’s new film about the genesis of Facebook and the lawsuits that followed is a rather fantastic film, and I can say fairly certainly that it contains some of the greatest written scenes I’ve seen in a long time.
Sorkin of course is no stranger to brilliant scenes, just check out almost every single episode of The West Wing for proof of this, but his writing here transcends that. Yes, it’s quick witted and sly, and yes, not a single person on the face of the earth probably speaks like that, but it’s one of the most capitivating scenes I’ve seen in a long time.
“You’re going to be successful, and rich. But you’re going to go through life thinking that girls don’t like you because you’re a nerd. And I want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, that that won’t be true. It’ll be because you’re an asshole.”
To set the scene, two students are in a bar. One of them, Mark Zuckerberg is distracted and distant, whilst his girlfriend Erica attempts to salvage the last pieces of their relationship. The conversation that follows, seems to break down into four different topics of conversation; about the relationship, Final’s Clubs, China and Mark’s general ego. The conversation mixes between these topics, flitting from one to the other and back again whilst keeping a throughline, constantly bringing it back to Mark and his struggle (that makes up most of the film) about trying to stand out in a college (and to an extent, a country) filled with success.
I don’t need friends.
I was being polite, I had no intention of being friends with you.
Sorkin distills the entire films narrative and themes into this one conversation, whilst also fleshing out Zuckerberg’s character and it does this without shoving exposition down our throats. It never speaks down to an audience who has never attended Harvard, making you feel slightly alienated, which to me at least feels very purposeful.
It’s an excellent scene, one of the finest of the year.