Theme of Relationships in the Film ‘The Social Network’

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‘The Social Network’, a film adapted from Ben Mezrich’s ‘The Accidental Billionaires’, and directed by David Fincher, explores the intricate past and creation of the social media site, Facebook. This film is not only a film about social media, but it’s also about border concepts than technology. It’s about relationships, individuals, friendships and what these mean in the digital age. These ideas are embedded in a plot that focuses on the relationships Mark has destroyed during the creation of Facebook, a key theme within the film.

Evident within the opening scene, technology is explored in a negative connotation, as a symbol of common miscommunication of messages via social media. The conversation held between Jesse Eisenberg’s character Mark Zuckerberg and his soon to be an ex-girlfriend, Erica Albright, supports this concept. Within the beginning of Mark and Erica's conversation, cross-cutting is employed to clearly express the mutual level of misunderstanding between the two characters. As the conversation progresses, the pace of the cuts quicken and the camera frame slowly move closer towards their faces, detailing the increase in tension and animosity towards each other.

Erica’s body language and Fincher’s composition depict Erica at her breaking point whilst in conversation with Mark. Allowing the audience to see their emotional and physical separation through the use of mise-en-scene, between the pair. After Mark insults Erica for the final time, the turmoil inevitably leads deterioration of the couple’s relationship. However, Mark is unaware of the painful predicament he has caused for himself, as he does not know if she is actually angry or if she is joking. His inability to pick up social cues, despite his arrogance and superior intelligence, leads the audience to sympathize with his character; followed by Erica leaving the frame. This final high angle shot communicates the overall loneliness and insecurity of Mark’s character, also reflected in the final scene; whereby Mark is seen alone again, requesting Erica on Facebook.

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The use of these film techniques is not only used to show the relationship between Erica and Mark but the break down in the relationship established between Mark and Eduardo Saverin. Early in the film, Mark and Eduardo are illustrated as best friends; demonstrated through multiple scenes of dialogue, of the characters together. As the film progresses, the relationship between Mark and Eduardo starts to deteriorate, established in the scene, in which Eduardo freezes Facebook’s bank account.

During the cross-cutting of the scene, both Mark and Eduardo are framed looking off screen, away from where they would be standing if the conversation had taken place in real life. This effect visually displays conflict between the two characters and the metaphoric wedge the company has driven through their friendship. Although Eduardo apologizes later in the scene for freezing the accounts, we still clearly don’t get resolution from the conflict, due to the irreversible damage done to their relationship.

A final scene between the two solidifies the destruction of their friendship, as Eduardo discovers his share of the company has been rendered valueless. After learning this information, a tracking shot follows Eduardo as he storms out to confront Mark, who at first ignores him. Eduardo grabs Mark’s laptop, smashing the machine on the desk in rage, causing an argument breaks out between the two. Within the argument Eduardo is framed from low-angle shots, so the audience is looking up towards him. In comparison to Mark, who is framed with high angle shots, with the audience looking down at him. This signifies the dynamic power shift between the two, as in previous scenes; Mark is shown to have the upper hand. Yet finally with this power shot, Eduardo has the final say, as ultimately the cost of Mark’s success his friendship between the characters.

This theme of relationships is explored thoroughly within the film, through the use of cinematic techniques. Conclusively supporting the idea that the film is not just about the creation of Facebook, yet key concepts that are timeless within the ever-changing world of rapidly evolving technologies.

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Theme of Relationships in the Film ‘The Social Network’. (2022, December 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 20, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/theme-of-relationships-in-the-film-the-social-network/
“Theme of Relationships in the Film ‘The Social Network’.” Edubirdie, 15 Dec. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/theme-of-relationships-in-the-film-the-social-network/
Theme of Relationships in the Film ‘The Social Network’. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/theme-of-relationships-in-the-film-the-social-network/> [Accessed 20 Apr. 2024].
Theme of Relationships in the Film ‘The Social Network’ [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Dec 15 [cited 2024 Apr 20]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/theme-of-relationships-in-the-film-the-social-network/
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