To call The Social Network a perfect movie may be an understatement, or an overstatement, depending on your admiration for David Fincher’s 2010 iconic film about Mark Zuckerberg and the founding of Facebook. The Social Network is arguably the best film from the year 2010, but the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences disagreed with this sentiment when it awarded Best Picture to The King’s Speech.
Regardless of your personal opinion, there’s one scene that’s as close to perfect as you can get and it includes lines like “Sorry, my Prada’s at the cleaners along with my hoodie and my fuck-you flip-flops, you pretentious douchebag,” and “You better lawyer up, asshole, ‘cause I’m not comin’ back, for my 30 percent, I’m comin’ back for everything!” The scene is known as the “You set me up” scene, where Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) confronts Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) about having his share of Facebook diluted from 34% to 0.03%.
Watching this scene again is like watching a football team flawlessly execute a 12-play, 90-yard scoring drive. Minute by minute, line by line, the scene builds in suspense and anticipation as Eduardo and Mark go back and forth at each other at both the deposition and party. Eduardo and Mark are the Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan of the scene, but Justin Timberlake, Aaron Sorkin, and David Fincher play the roles of Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing, and Charles Barkley to round out the Dream Team starting lineup. All five guys are in complete control of the scene.
First, there’s David Fincher, who’s as intricate as it comes behind the camera. Fincher is a perfectionist in every sense of the word. In the opening scene of the movie, where Erica Albright dumps Mark, Fincher had Eisenberg and Rooney Mara do 99 takes of this six-minute scene. Try doing something 99 times over the course of two days for your job and see if you still love it after. Just ask Jake Gyllenhall about his time on Zodiac. But if you trust Fincher’s process, he’ll push you to great heights, which usually leads to terrific performances.
Fincher may be the perfectionist behind the camera, but Aaron Sorkin is the maestro behind the script. Sorkin is known for his fast, rhythmic, and over-lapping dialogue that makes the scene play like a musical. It’s why Sorkin is one of the most unique and successful screenwriters of the last 30 years. One would think a director as precise as Fincher and a writer as detailed as Sorkin would clash like oil and water. It turns out that Fincher and Sorkin perfectly balanced each other out, and Sorkin’s script won Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars.
As previously stated, if you trust Fincher’s process, he can bring the best out of you. In Justin Timberlake’s case, his turn as Sean Parker is the actor’s best performance. Everything about Parker screams snake-oil salesman. In the film, Sean is the cool senior who’s showing off to the freshman so he can eventually get the younger kid to do his homework in exchange for popularity. Timberlake is so cool in this movie, and yet you want to punch him in the face throughout the entire exchange between Eduardo and Mark.
Finally, the heart of this scene is the friendship and betrayal between Eduardo and Mark. As Eduardo tells Mark in the deposition, “I was your only friend.” Eduardo’s teary-eyed and emphatic plea is so raw and full of emotion that the audience has to side with the former CFO of Facebook. In turn, Mark starts off as his usual cocky self, blaming Eduardo for his mistake, but Eduardo’s passionate speech eventually shakes Mark to his core. Behind the billionaire-genius is still a guy who wants to be liked. Eisenberg received a well-deserved nomination for Best Actor, but the fact that Garfield did not find himself in the supporting category is still a mistake 10 years later.
If you’ve never seen The Social Network, watch this one scene because it tells you everything you need to know about each character. Sean is manipulative and arrogant, but at the other end of his Facebook mug is an insecure coward. Eduardo is a deer in headlights whose pride gets the best of him, but he’s the film’s most sympathetic character. Then, there’s Mark, who was best described by Marylin Delpy, played by Rashida Jones. At the end of the deposition, Marylin said, “You’re not an asshole Mark. You’re just trying so hard to be.”
It’s up for debate as to whether Mark is a good guy or not, but what’s not up for discussion is the perfection of this scene.
What is your favorite scene from The Social Network? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.