Recommended Re-Viewing: This Line From 'The Social Network' Is Still My Favourite Put-Down

Olivia Ovenden
Photo credit: Esquire UK

From Esquire

Recommended Re-Viewing is a series which makes the case for re-watching an old movie which you can stream without leaving your house. It might be a plot that's so bad it's good, a scene which deserves more interrogation or a director's underrated gem.

In hindsight, the fact that Mark Zuckerberg turned out to be such a force for ill in the world was written in the stars from the moment he made a website comparing the hotness of women at Harvard University. But hindsight was not the privileged viewpoint from which director David Fincher and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin made The Social Network, the 2010 film which followed the birth and subsequent blow up of Zuckerberg' social media monster.

Ten years since its release, The Social Network is well worth a rewatch for its stark warning about the ghastly bros behind the tech boom and the egos that their creations are built upon. There are a lot of alarm bell moments: from the clinical way he betrays his best friend to his lack of concern over amassing the data of his classmates, but the most telling line comes from his girlfriend Erica Albright in the scene where their relationship ends.

As Zuckerberg, played by Jesse Eisenberg, sits hunched in his GAP hoodie, she delivers the biggest slam-dunk of the movie, telling him:

"You are probably going to be a very successful computer person. 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."

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The verbal tennis match which ends with this withering put down comes within the first five minutes of the film. The opener tells the audience everything they need to know about Zuckerberg.

As well as the extremely chef's kiss moment of diminishing his career prospects by saying he'll become a "very successful computer person", Albright's line cuts to the image Zuckerberg has of himself as a misunderstood outsider, reminding him that, actually, he's just a prick. (It should be noted that the Facebook founder has denied many elements of the film's plot).

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Most importantly, it is the sort of glorious farewell line we have all dreamed of thinking up before exiting stage left and leaving a still-fizzing pint and an empty chair in your wake. There is no limit to the amount of times I can watch this film and not think, damn, she got him. I like to think the real Erica Albright had a farewell line as brilliant as her fictional counterpart and, given that she is getting affiliate cut from the Amazon link to The Social Network on her blog, I feel reassured that she knows how to stick it to her Mr Zuckerberg.

I wish Aaron Sorkin had written the script from when I walked away from my ex forever, I might have said something more cutting than "can you drop me at the station".

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